The Minerals Commission has been petitioned not to grant mineral rights to any individuals or groups for mining at Assemkrom, a community in the Aowin Municipality of the Western North Region.
In a petition, copies of which had been sent to the Presidency and Ghanaian Times, residents of the place, led by a group, the Concerned Citizens of Assemkrom, explained that the move was based on their abhorrence forthe wanton destruction of land, farms and pollution of water bodies through illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
The petition signed by opinion leaders, including Rev. Father Dr Joseph Blay, the Convenor of the group, noted that “Notwithstanding these quandaries, certain individuals want to introduce small-scale mining to the community, whose main occupation is farming, with cocoa being the major cash crop.”
The group is, therefore,calling on President Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo Addo and the appropriate ministries and institutions to take urgent, effective and immediate measures to stop or prevent galamsey from being done in the area.
According to the group, galamsey would aggravate the plight of the people of Assemkrom, who already lack good roads, hospital, electricity, communication network and potable water, factors that facilitate development.
The petition said alarmed by the land devastation, water pollution and blood-bath conflicts galamsey has caused in surrounding towns and many other communities across the country, the residents of Assemkrom wanted the Mineral Commission and relevant institutions to stop small-scale mining in the place.
“We are contented with drinking water from our streams and eating tuber foodstuffs not contaminated with mercury. We would not like to leave a land dotted with death-trap pits to our future generations,” the petition said.
It stressed that mining would degrade lands, farms, including cocoa, rivers and waters bodies, the Assemkrom forest reserve, which falls within the United Nation’s Conservation of Natural Resources plan.
Meanwhile, the petition states that “Assemkrom has no geologically-proven commercial deposit of gold for industrial mining, but galamsey operators have already infiltrated and destroying the 129-km2Boin-Tano Forest Reserve and also encroaching on the 66-km2Jema-Assemkrom Forest Reserve.”
It stated that some galamseyers were already tampering with the Tano marvelous stones, which have tourism potential and that abandoned galamsey pits will pose threat to human life and biodiversity.
The petition stressed that being a border town, Assemkrom could also attract foreigner galamseyers, whose presence could result in violent confrontations and compromise the peace there.
Turning their attention to harm of galamsey generally across the country, the group said a recent satellite coverage along the Offin and Pra basins “makes one wonder if our leaders and citizenry care about the future of our country. Galamsey has worsened the plight of rural dwellers.”
It appealed to the Minerals Commission to see the Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources and Local Government and Rural Development; and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other institutions, as collaborators that can help it deal with galamsey.