Hundreds of angry residents mostly illegal small scale miners in the Prestea Hemang District of the Western Region are up in arms against government’s decision to ban activities of illegal small scale miners.
The residents took to the chief’s palace, Monday, where two deputies of the Lands and Natural Resources had been meeting the chief to discuss how to end the scourge of illegal mining.
Swearing at the government officials, the angry residents chanted war songs threatening to vote out the NPP government in the 2020 elections if it does not stop the campaign against galamsey.
Joy News’ Latif Iddris who was present at the scene reported the protest was quite spontaneous with the number of protesters increasing with every blink of the eye.
They accused the Nana Akufo-Addo government of deceiving them during the 2016 elections.
According to them, then candidate Nana Akufo-Addo promised to streamline the illegal mining activities if voted into office only for him to do the opposite- ban the activity now that he is in office.
The protestors told Iddris the only job they are used to, since birth is mining and that should not be taken away from them.
The protestors could not however present a petition to the two deputy ministers.
Rather, there was a durbar held for the two parties to explain their positions on the galamsey menace, Latif Iddris reported.
According to him both Benito Owusu Bio and Barbera Oteng Gyasi took turns to explain to the residents government’s position on the galamsey menace- a position of sustained combat of illegal mining.
The residents also pointed out to the two ministers the extent to which a ban of illegal mining will affect them.
With no jobs for them to do, the residents explained their main source of livelihood is mining, and the proceeds have been used in funding education of their children and providing food, clothing.
They reiterated their threat to vote out the NPP in 2020 if the government continues its campaign against illegal mining.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu said the $10 million land reclamation programme will begin sooner than later.
He dismissed assertion the government is banning all mining activity, saying we are not stopping mining but we will mine in a sustainable manner.
There has been a renewed fight against illegal mining in 2017. The campaign started by the media and other civil society groups has received massive support from government.