Eastern regional Minister Ambassador Victor Smith has cautioned chiefs to refrain from illegal allocation of concession for mining.
According to Ambassador Smith, the Constitution has vested all natural resources in the hands of the State hence no chief has the power to allocate concession without approval of the Minerals Commission and other stakeholder institutions.
The Minister gave the caution in an interview with Adom News at the maiden Mining Forum in Accra.
He explained that, some chiefs in the Eastern region are the reason for the surge in illegal mining in the region. According to him, the chiefs allot concession to illegal miners including foreigners upon percentage sharing agreement.
He disclosed, a chief (name withheld), had been summoned to appear before the REGSECfor his alleged involvement in illegal “galamsey” operations in the area.
Victor Smith has therefore sounded a strong warning to galamsey operators including foreigners stressing, he and the regional security will ensure that all illegal miners in the region are arrested and prosecuted.
He equally blamed the Environmental Protection Agency and related agencies for relaxing in their duties to enforce laws on illegal mining. He noted if these agencies were up to task, foreigners would not have flooded the mining sector illegally.
Ambassador Victor Smith virtually declared the region ‘a no go area’ for galamsey operators.
He added that, all those foreigners arrested will be verified to see if they had work permit else they will be repatriated.