General News of Tuesday, 8 January 2019
The Inter-Ministerial Task Force on illegal mining over the weekend nearly clashed with a military team providing protection for a licensed mining company allegedly engaged in illegal operations.
According to reports by Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor, Nawara Mining Company is said to be using alluvial mining methods at Nsuaprem in Fanteakwa District of the Eastern Region, in a breach of a buffer zone arrangement along River Birim.
The miners were caught washing the minerals on generated makeshift platforms on the field and directing the waste materials to the environment and into the river.
The soldiers will however not allow filming of the arrest and subsequent confusion and attempted to obstruct the work of the task force.
The Inter-Ministerial task force, however, decided to seize the equipment as part of their duty to enforce mining regulations and control illegal mining activities.
“So our duty is when we move about and see anything like this (that goes against mining rules and regulations) we have to take all the equipment straight to Accra and you’ll have to come there to explain yourselves,” leader of the inter-ministerial taskforce, Ohene Agyekum, told the miners.
The task force also seized all processed gold at the site.
Chief of Akyem Heman, Osabarima Mmirikisi Okasum Apori Atta, told Erastus that even if Nawara Mining Company had a license to work, the law does not allow them to destroy the buffer zone at Abirem.
“It is within my jurisdiction as a traditional ruler to protect the water, should the regulators refuse, then we shall be forced to take the law into our own hands,” he stated.
At Apinamang, also in the Eastern region, the task force some residents were caught mining near residential areas and electrical installations.
Ohene Agyekum said, “ten excavators were seized, two are not working and the eight has been sent to Accra.”
He added the residents fled the scene before the task force got there.