The illegal mining or ‘Galamsey’ menace is compelling authorities to take drastic measures to address it.
“About nineteen water bodies have been polluted in communities in the Obuasi Municipality,” Chief Executive, Richmond Ofori Agyemang Boadi, reveals.
The Ministerial Task Force made up of both military and police has often raided mining areas like Obuasi in a crackdown on illegal miners.
Traditional leaders have often been criticized for alleged involvement directly or indirectly in ‘galamsey’ operations.
The Adansi Traditional Area which includes Obuasi, Fomena and Dompoase has witnessed wanton destruction of land and water bodies from indiscriminate activities of miners.
Anti-galamsey activists have often argued that before anybody hits a pick-axe or spade on the ground in search of gold, they will have to see a chief for permission one way or the other.
Paramount Chief of Adansi, Pagyakotwere Bonsra Afriyie the second, is taking steps to halt the destruction.
He prescribes sanctions, including de-stoolment of any sub-chief who permits galamsey operations in communities under his jurisdiction.
More than 19 water bodies across the paramountcy have been polluted due to illegal mining.
“In order to do this effectively, I have to tackle it from the source. So I have asked all my chiefs that anybody who will perform the traditional rites (apay3 in Akan) for galamsey will be de-stooled,” he warned.
Akwamuhene and Regent of Bobrase, has already fallen casualty to the paramount chief’s axe, after he was relieved of his position early this 2 prestea miners-ankobrayear for allowing galamsey operations in his jurisdiction.
Obuasi Municipality as well as the Adansi North and South Districts fall within the Adansi Traditional Area.
The three assemblies have instituted what they call ‘’silent’ task force in their respective jurisdictions to tackle the destruction of land and other natural resources.
Officials believe this will augment the efforts of the paramount chief in addressing the menace.
District Chief Executive of Adansi North, Abdul Lateef Majdoub, says ‘galamsey’ has reduced by almost 90 per cent since the inception of collaboration almost a year ago.
“Because we know Nana will not give permission for any galamsey activities, anybody who comes to the districts, we have all resolved not to give permission but direct such a people to the paramount chief,” he emphasized.
Mr. Majdoub explains residents have also been sensitized to report activities of illegal miners in their communities.
Nana Bonsra Afriyie and the Adansi Traditional Council will assess the impact of the initiative at the end of this year.
“Hopefully, by end of this year we will assess to find out what impact this initiative has made, then we continue from there”, he pointed out.
To sustain it, chiefs and sub-chiefs under the traditional area have been asked to organize and advise their subjects to engage in small-scale mining which is permissible under the law.Nana Bonsra Afriyie is by the country’s high unemployment rate which compels some people to venture into Galamsey which they find lucrative.
As a result, he indicates, fighting the menace has become difficulty to the extent that perpetrators arm themselves in order to resist arrest.
“I have heard that there are many powerful hands from all sectors behind this operation so if you want to do something like this, they will sabotage you,” Nana lamented.
We need the support of security services and other state agencies, including assemblies, to successfully fight the menace.
Story by Prince Appiah