Spokesperson for the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners says their mining activities carried out at Twifo-Praso District in the Central Region did not pollute River Pra.

Abdul Razak Alhassan in an interview on Joy FM explained that the processes carried out by legal miners in the area do not allow for waste to be pumped back into River Pra.

“When you are recycling the water, the dust settles then you use your excavator to take off those dust. How do you carry them back to the river? The tubes are to pump the water from the river to the recycling bins but we don’t have return pipes which send the water back to the river. No, we don’t do it that way,” he told Evans Mensah.

He added that it is in the interest of miners to keep the river safe since the same river is used for gold mining.

“Without water, you cannot do mining because it is the same water that we use to do this recycling pond. When you pump the water from the river.. you put it in those recycling bins and that is what you use to do your washing. While the dust is settling, then you take them off. Without clean water, you can’t get gold.

“We are not happy with how River Pra is looking because without clean water, you can’t get your concentrate very well. We are working within the law,” he stated.

The group earlier today accused the military of unjustly destroying excavators and other mining equipment of members at a site closer to the River Pra, stating that it had not breached the conditions provided by government.

This comes after Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah indicated that some 200 officers in the military were deployed on River Pra in the Western and Central regions to halt operations of illegal miners.

In a directive issued by the government to check illegal mining activities, all mining operations in forest reserves with or without legal authorization are to be suspended and must not be in proximity to water bodies.

But according to Abdul Razak, the miners did not breach any requirement since they were not in proximity to the Pra River, therefore, should not have had their equipment destroyed by the military.

He, therefore, called on the government to come clear on the initiatives and restrictions it has put in place to check ‘galamsey’.

“We want government to come out clearly because it looks as if they have betrayed us. We sat with them to discuss issues concerning illegal mining and how we all need to come together to curb it and the understanding was that, we will have the National Dialogue, go to the regional and district level and come out with a holistic view and see how best we can solve the problem.

“We never discussed anything about military or using brutal force. But all of a sudden they came out in a few days and they deployed military. We have advised government military have been used in the past and it hasn’t worked.