Chiefs And farmers of Mantukwa and Aiyinasi North in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, have reiterated the call on the Minerals Commission to cancel mining licences granted companies to prospect for gold in the area.
They cautioned that illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, should not be allowed to destroy the environment and agriculture, particularly the cocoa industry.
They said the country is the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, which happens to be its third highest source of foreign exchange, so everything possible must be done to protect it.
A statement jointly signed by some farmers and opinion leaders of Mantukwa and other communities, including Nana Enu Kpanyinli II, Nana Mandimase of Aiyinasi (Basake Stool) and Nana Bonzo Kaku II, chief of Awiebo and the Ghanaian Times copied, expressed worry that some mining companies had served notice of their intention to start alluvial mining in Mantukwa and its environs.
It said “we, therefore, call for the immediate withdrawal of prospecting/mining rights given to Bejaco Company Limited, Mighty K. Nsenkyire Ventures, RMP Ghana Ltd, Yellow Gold Limited, Pekinpat Company Limited and Gwiraman Mining Limited.”
The statement noted that since Aiyinasi North was a food basket of Nzemaarea, illegal mining would lead to destruction of land and farms, resulting in increased food insecurity and untold hardship on the people.
“Mining will result in land degradation and affect cocoa farming, which is far more sustainable and eco-friendly activity than small-scale mining or galamsey,” the opinion leaders said.
According to the statement, alluvial mining in the area will lead to pollution of the Nrem stream, a tributary of the Fia River that flows into River Amanzule, all sources of drinking water for the people.
It said illegal mining involved mercury, which poses a health risk to the people, adding that “getting rid of illegal miners is a thorn in
Ghana government’s flesh and a huge financial burden.”
The opinion leaders said instead of going to school, some youth were engaging in small-scale mining (SSM) or galamsey, which undermines the free Senior High School policy and results in insecurity and moral decadence.
“Abandoned and unfilled SSM pits pose threat to human life and biodiversity. Galamsey can lead to violent skirmishes in the Mantukwa and its environs. Galamsey will compromise the relative peace Mantukwa now enjoys,” the statement said.
The Ghana Environmental Advisory Group, a non-governmental organisation, on June 12, this year, petitioned the Minerals Commission to revoke licences granted companies to engage in mining in Mantukwa and Aiyinasi North, but to no avail.
The Convener of the Group, Elizabeth Allua Vaah, in a statement, said “Mineral deposits in Aiyinasi North are not enough to sustain profitable, better run commercial mining venture, which means these companies are only going to engage in low skilled, alluvial mining with extensive environmental damage that will not be commensurate with the associated environmental cost.”
BY TIMES REPORTER