Involve chiefs in fight against illegal mining - Adansi Kwapeahene
The Chief of Adansi Kwapea in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region, Nana Gyamera Kwabena Yiakwan II, has urged the government and the National House of Chiefs to enter into an agreement that would hold chiefs who allow their lands to be mined and not reclaimed afterwards liable for breaches of the agreement and the environment.
He said as part of the agreement, chiefs must have the powers to revoke the licences of small-scale miners who fail to protect the environment.
He said when this was done, chiefs would be forced to monitor and control the activities of miners in their localities.
The Kwapeahene expressed displeasure about gaping pits left uncovered after mining activities had ceased, saying they posed a grave danger to children who played in disused mine sites.
He said close working relations among chiefs, district assemblies and the media must also be included in the agreement to give the fight against illegal mining a multi-faceted approach.
Nana Yiakwan made these assertions at a press conference that took place at Adansi Kwapea last Friday.
By way of contributing to efforts to stop illegal mining, the Kwapeahene has abolished the shift system in schools in his traditional area as a measure to prevent pupils from joining the illegal vocation.
“Classrooms are gradually being abandoned by pupils in search of gold.
“‘When you meet them and ask why they are not in school, they tell you they are for either afternoon or morning shift,” he stated.
He said the shift system being run by the Ghana Educational Service (GES) was contributing to the exploitation of children by illegal miners.
He said he had written formally to the Obuasi Municipal Police Command to support by arresting individuals who had installed gold processing machines in their residences. He said those machines were endangering the lives of people in the community.
The small town of Kwapea has been overwhelmed by people processing gold illegally in their homes and has, as a result, attracted all manner of people into the town and into people’s homes.
Aside from physically polluting the environment, Nana Yiakwan said noise from the machines the miners used was so deafening that if they were not stopped, it could also lead to future health complications.
He further appealed to the government to use part of the royalties miners paid to rehabilitate the main Obuasi trunk road which was in bad shape.
He bemoaned the fact that many roads in mining communities were in bad condition and urged the government to direct resources to improve them.