The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources George Mireku Duker has led a joint operation of Military and Police against illegal mining in Birim North and Asante Akyem South Districts in the Eastern and Ashanti Regions respectively.
The borders of Birim North and Asante Akyem South Districts in Eastern And Ashanti regions respectively have been invaded by illegal miners mostly from West African countries such as Burkinafaso, Niger and Ivory Coast
They deploy new technology to illegally mine gold using dangerous chemicals which are discharged into water bodies in the area.
They have also diverted the upstream of the Prah River and polluting same with impunity with tacit collusion of the locals.
The special operation conducted on Thursday, September 30, 2021 led to the arrest of six(6) suspected illegal miners.
The team set ablaze 19 chanfai mining equipment and eight water pumping machines. Tents that serve as habitat for the illegal miners on the mining sites were torched.
The six suspects include a female Ghanaian, some West African nationals, and a financier who was at one of the sites.
However some of the illegal miners mostly the West Africa Nationals managed to escape through the bush before the arrival of the operation team at four sites visited.
The Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister also ordered immediate shut down of Socorro Investment Mining Limited located at Amenam in Asante Akyem South District which has allegedly been taken over by Franco Trading Enterprise.
The Chinese miners who were in charge of the company reportedly fled to their country after a fatal incident at the mining site. According to the Deputy Minister per the records available the company is not licensed to mine.
“Because they don’t have a license to mine. It is in an illegal site. They must produce an EPA license before they start mining. Nobody can claim ownership of this concession. Minerals Commission has not granted any concession here,” the Deputy Minister stated.
Speaking to the media George Mireku Duker said the operation became necessary following several reports on destructive activities of the illegal miners mostly from West African countries who have invaded the area using dangerous chemicals and new illegal mining technology to destroy the lands and river bodies.
“The invasion of foreigners is now the trend and it is a worrying one obviously people coming from Burkinafaso, Ivory Coast, Benin and so on. Those who have been arrested attest to that fact. It is very unfortunate that Ghanaians are allowing this to happen”.
He said domestic animals were reportedly dying in the area after drinking from nearby rivers due to the high levels of chemical pollution.
“Animals are dying because they are drinking from diverted water that have been polluted by Mercury and so on. Farmers are complaining , they are destroying cocoa farms . If you can see behind me,the Prah river has been diverted and heavily polluted this is a worrying to Ghanaians and o think Ghanaians should be alert now”
The Suspects will be put before court for Prosecution.