Authorities and the sustainable land and water management taskforce have arrested six Chinese nationals for mining illegally in the farming enclave of Pokukrom in the Ashanti region.
According to residents of Pokukrom, the only hygienic source of water in the community has been polluted by the activities of illegal mining and aside the pollution of water bodies, large tracks of farmlands growing cocoa and other crops have been destroyed to serve illegal mining purposes.
During the arrest, the sustainable land and water management taskforce seized four excavators used in destroying large tracts of farmlands and water bodies in the area.
A member of the taskforce, Twum Agyakum said, the team seeks to protect natural resources and protect those in legitimate mining.
“We are here to stop individuals parading our security personnel to rob legitimate miners of their produce.
“We are also here to stop the destruction of rivers and illegal miners in the forest by Chinese nationals supported by Ghanaians.”
The Chinese nationals arrested in the latest swoop have since been transferred to the Kumasi central police for procession.
As part of moves to protect key natural resources from illegal mining, government since its assumption of office in 2017 instituted a taskforce to combat the illegal small-scale mining known as Operation Vanguard.
This team which has been committed to clamping down on the activities of the miners, have led to the arrest of many including foreign nationals engaged in the practice.
It can be recalled that, H. E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressed the government’s resolve to continue its fight against illegal mining, sand-winning and other activities that poses a negative impact on the environment.
On 19th August 2019, President Akuffo Addo gave his assent to Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Act amended the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and increased penalties for a person who buys or sells minerals without a license or without a valid authority. The Act also increased the penalties for a person who engages in mining contrary to the provision Act. President Akufo Addo also stated that, the punishments for foreigners who intervene illegally in the mining industry have been increased.
Recently, six illegal miners, popularly known as ‘galamseyers’ died instantly when a mine pit in which they were working collapsed on them, at K9, near Adum Banso, in the Mpohor District of the Western Region.
Two bodies have been retrieved so far and the police are making efforts to remove the remaining four still trapped in the pit.
The two retrieved bodies, identified as those of Kwa Atta, 35, and Emmanuel Kaku, 32, have been deposited at the Funko Hospital mortuary for preservation and autopsy.
The Western Regional Police Public Affairs Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Olivia Ewurabena Adiku, who confirmed the deaths said that, a man named Isaac Amoah, reported to the Mpohor police that, he visited his illegal mining site, at K9, near Adum Banso, and discovered that six male adults had been trapped in the mining pit and possibly dead.
DSP Adiku said when the police accompanied Mr. Amoah to the scene, they met some galamsey operators, who assisted in retrieving the bodies of Atta and Kaku, and after inspection and photographs, the bodies were taken to the Funko Hospital mortuary.