27 illegal miners arrested

Twenty-seven illegal miners operating in the Atiwa District and the East Akim municipality were last Saturday arrested by the Presidential task force on illegal mining.

The task force also seized 36 excavators, 21 water pumps and some chemicals, including mercury, used by the illegal miners in their operations.

The suspects, who are all Ghanaians aged between 15 and 63, were arrested at their illegal mining sites at Ahwenease, Akyem Akwadum, Kyebi, Adadientem, Kyebi Afiesa, Ankaase, Amonom and Akrofufu.

 Addressing the media after the arrest, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Julius Debrah, expressed concern over the rate of environmental degradation caused by the illegal miners in the region and appealed to all those interested in mining to respect the mining laws of the country.

He stressed that the government was not against small-scale mining and advised those involved in it to abide by the laid down rules for the good of all.

An official of the Minerals Commission, Mr Evans Adade, said his outfit had organised a number of workshops to sensitise the public to how to go into small-scale mining and the procedures in acquiring licences but the effect had not been as expected.

 The Eastern Regional Security Liaison Officer, Mr Joshua Agyekum, said state funds were used between June and July last year to reclaim mine pits that had been left behind by illegal miners, only for the task force to realise that those reclaimed pits were being degraded by illegal miners again.

He observed that if care was not taken, illegal mining would destroy the agricultural system, with a devastating effect on the ecology of the country.

He, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders to support efforts at ending illegal mining in the country.

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