Mining | National

Illegal mining is organized crime – Oteng-Adjei

The Minister for Environment, Science and Technology has expressed shock at the extent to which illegal miners have damaged the environment in mining areas.

Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, who toured the Prestea – Bogoso area in the Western Region, described the activities of the galamsey operators as organized crime being perpetrated on Ghanaians, which must not be left unpunished.

The Minister was in the area to see the extent of environmental damage caused by small scale miners. His visit comes ahead of tomorrow’s pulling out of security officers from all mining concessions in the country.

"It is a great damage to the environment. You would have thought that one or two young boys sitting somewhere and doing business. But, this is an organized crime and all of us should work together", the minister intimated.

According to him, there are better ways of harnessing this resource to benefit all Ghanaians as he doubted the economic gains derived from the activities of galamsey. 

"And what I am seeing  is not just the damage to the river Ankobra, you see it elsewhere and you thought there is a fallacy somebody created", Dr. Oten-Adjei said, stressing that the pollution to the river is real.

Joy News’ Kwaku Owusu Peprah, who accompanied the minister on his tour reported that the overhead view of Prestea and Bogoso from the environmentalist's view point is a gross disregard of the environment an an abuse of God's given nature.

The colour of the berth at a portion of the Ankobra river has turned blue as a result of certain embankments created by the galamseyers, which Joy News gathered is related to the use of mercury. a poisonous substance used in illegal mining.

The wanton destruction at certain portions of the land, where the illegal activity is being conducted is excessive as no security personnel could access those places.

Meanwhile,  local authorities had thrown their hands in despair regarding measures put in place for the withdrawal of security personnel ahead of tomorrow's exercise, Joy News learnt.

The chiefs, opinions leaders and the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area hope that the few policemen that are available will talk to the illegal miners to withdraw.