The Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has attributed the growing illegal mining menace to the inability of local law enforcement agencies to effectively police the mining industry.
According to the sector minister, Mahama Ayariga, local law enforcement agencies at the District, Municipal and the Metropolitan level have not been proactive enough in dealing with the canker.
Local law enforcement lacks capacity
Speaking to the media at an event to commemorate World Environment Day, he said, “I must express my disappointment in the failure of local law enforcement agencies to live up to their responsibility to prevent illegal small scale mining activities within their jurisdictions.”
Mr. Ayariga is of the view “local law enforcement agencies in the form of District, Municipal and even Metropolitan or even Regional security don’t have the capacity to prevent illegal mining activity within their jurisdiction.”
The minister however intimated that the problems may also be “a deliberate result of people just refusing to their work.”
Ministry to work with the EPA
As a new resort to dealing with illegal mining, Mr. Ayariga revealed that his ministry will now be working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“I have therefore directed the Environmental Protection Agency that given that we have no control over the law enforcement officers to compel them to act, we must move into ensure that the mining standards that they use are consistent with acceptable environmental standards,” he said.
Chamber of Mines unhappy with state security
The Ghana Chamber of Mines has already decried the perceived inaction on the part of state security and other relevant institutions in the fight against illegal mining.
According to the chamber, the recent increase in galamsey activities and violence against licensed mining companies has spread fear among investors in the mining sector.
The immediate past Chief Executive Officer of the chamber, Sulemanu Koney asserted that the inaction of security at AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mines led to the death of Anglogold’s Communications Manager, John Owusu.
This in his view also emboldened more illegal miners to encroach onto their mining concessions.
“Companies such as Owere Mines, AngloGold Ashanti-Obuasi Mine and Peresus Mines in Ayanfuri in recent months have seen an escalation of activities of illegal miners on their concessions,” Mr. Koney said.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana