General News of Tuesday, 4 July 2017
The freeze on small-scale mining activities including illegal mining (galamsey) by the Akufo-Addo government is to, among other things, prevent avoidable deaths at mining sites, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has said.
On Saturday July 1, 14 out of 19 illegal galamseyers were trapped in the belly of the earth. The accident occurred at Prestea-Nsuta in the Western Region as the illegal miners undertook their operation.
Heavy rains had weakened the earth, causing the pit to cave in on them. Five of them were able to come out of the pit alive.
Speaking on the development in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday July 4, Ms Gyasi, who is also MP for Prestea Huni Valley, said this incident was one of the reasons the Akufo-Addo government launched a blitzkrieg against small-scale mining when the New Patriotic Party won last year’s elections.
She said: “I got this sad information when I was returning from my constituency over the weekend. My colleague deputy minister is on his way to the area to inspect the situation. I will say that we need to find ways of ensuring that more people are not trapped in the pit as they attempt to rescue the victims.
“It is for some of these fatalities that the government wants all small-scale activities to come to an end for the government to properly regulate those activities.
“But some of them wanted to pull a fast one and that has resulted in this incident. The communities should also be active and assist in fighting against the mining activities.”