The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has warned illegal miners, popularly known as galamseyers, to desist from the practice or risk being thrown into jail for 25 years.
The minister issued the warning at Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, when management of Yeyenya and Pubortaaba Mining Group and Shaanxi Mining Firm complained about the resurgence of illegal mining in their mining concessions.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh stressed that it would require urgent attention by the ministry and other stakeholders to stop illegal mining.
It is recalled that in 2019, the Minerals Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, upon Cabinet directives, caused the closure of illegal pits linking the mines of Yeyenya and Pubortaaba mining groups.
This was to help prevent illegal miners from stealing gold ore from the concessions of the Yeyenya and Pubortaaba mining groups.
But as at January 24, 2020, seven illegal miners were arrested by the security personnel of Shaanxi and handed over to the Talensi District Police Command, after operating in the concessions of the Yeyenya and Pubortaaba mining groups.
The sector minister who was on a working visit to the area called on the illegal miners to desist from the practice and take advantage of the community mining programme initiated by the government.
He urged Shaanxi Mining Company to meet all the requirements of safety measures.
“It is very critical for all mining companies in this region and other parts of the country to strictly abide by the mining laws and safety measures. This will help curb the occurrences of deaths and casualties often associated with illegal mining and to also help deal with environmental issues,” Mr Asomah-Cheremeh stressed.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Shaanxi Company, Mr Maxwell Wooma, called on the regulatory bodies in the mining sector to permanently seal off three out of the five illegal mining pits that were closed last year.
He indicated that in January alone 7 illegal miners were arrested by Shaanxi and handed over to the police in the Talensi District.
Mr Woomah said that 80 per cent of the safety requirements have been completed, and expressed the hope that by the end of next month, adequate safety measures would have been put in place for work to resume.
Mr Charles Ndabon Taleo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Yeyenya Mining Group, indicated that the constant invasion of the illegal miners into the company’s concessions was affecting the smooth operation of the company.
He appealed to the illegal miners to stop stealing gold ore from the company, and rather apply for jobs in the company.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, GBANE