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JUST IN: Eastern Regional Security Council backs calls for temporary ban on small scale mining

Chairman of the Eastern Regional Security Council, Seth Acheampong has backed calls by the Okyehene for a temporary ban on small-scale mining in the country.

“I fully endorse the Okyehene’s proposal. He did not just speak, he spoke and underpinned it with certain observations,” he said.

His endorsement follows comments made by the Okyehene at the Ofori Panin Fie during a visit by Lands and Natural Resource Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor.

Addressing the minister, the Okyehene had called on government to put a one-year moratorium on small-scale mining activities to allow for the proper regulation and streamlining of the mining industry.

Osaagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin posited that shutting down the industry, which is plagued with complexities and disorderliness, for a year would allow the authorities to properly fish out persons without legitimate licenses for prospecting, reconnaissance, digging, and mining.

Illegal small-scale mining, popularly known as galamsey, has been a challenge the country has long battled. Due to its negative impact on the environment, especially on water bodies and land resources, the current administration since its inception has put in place various measures to check the canker.

The efforts included the ‘Operation Vanguard’ task force which was created and later dissolved over its failure to bring the menace under control.

Recently, government has launched ‘Operation Halt’ to also bring activities of illegal miners, especially those who mine at the banks of various water bodies under control.

But in spite of these efforts, little success has been chalked. During the address, the Okyehene blamed the outcome on failure to identify miners with legitimate licenses and bring those without such licenses, yet are engaging in illegal mining to book.

In light of this, he called for the names of persons and companies with proper licenses to be published for the public to know.

Reacting to the comment, Mr Acheampong endorsed the call. He assured the public that government will consider it.

“I really believe in the statement of the Okyehene but that is subject to the direction and technical council from the technocrats who are helping the administration to do its business,” he said.

 

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