Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin has kicked against the Government decision of promoting community mining as a means of eliminating illegal mining activities popularly known as galamsey.
According to the Okyenhene, license has been issued to some individuals to mine in the communities without the consent of the chiefs, the allodial owners, destroying lands and water bodies which affect the pedigree of the community and the state as well.
Due to that, the Overlord of Abuakwa Traditional Council categorically stated that his area will not permit community mining and that necessary action will be taken against such activities.
The Okyenhene, a known Environmentalist, who expressed his displeasure about the situation when the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong paid a courtesy call on him at the Ofori Panin Fie, Kyebi on Sunday said “enough is enough. We will not allow the illegal mining called community mining to take place in our communities”.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has announced earlier that, the community mining concept could provide the antidote to the wanton environmental degradation being perpetrated by illegal miners across the country.
The Minister explained that the operations of community mining were environmentally friendly and must be embraced by all stakeholders to create sustainable jobs for the youth without destroying the environment.
Government, he said, would collaborate with the Minerals Commission to expand the community mining concept throughout the country to create job opportunities for the youth in illegal mining while protecting the environment from destruction.
He added that the Ministry would soon facilitate a national consultative dialogue to come out with a blueprint to regulate the sector with the promotion of community mining as the main strategy to phase out illegal small scale mining.
But the Okyenhene explaining his reasons empathically stated that “they come in to show us their licence from the Minerals Commission telling us that the government has given them authority to mine in our communities without consulting us.”
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin angrily threatened that “As they are destroying our lands and water bodies, they blamed the chiefs for such activities. We won’t allow that thing to happen. No one will give a permit to mine on our land without seeking permission from the one you called Landlord.”
He continued that there are many pits left uncovered in the various communities which pose a threat to children.
The Okyenhene averred that the chiefs will be glad to have a reclamation policy with the government which will rule that cancer out from the state.
“We need to have a reclamation policy. The Minister of Lands and Forestry came to lunch reclamation programme but up till now we’ve not seen anything and still, there are many uncovered pits in our communities serving as a risk to our children.”
“In this our Kyebi community, many people are engaging in illegal mining. And if the Chiefs and the government can’t do anything, then where are we going,” he quizzed.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong thanked the Okyeman Traditional Council for the advice which will make him step out from his predecessors.
He also stated that it is the government priority to put an end to illegal mining in the state before his hierarchy ends.
The Regional Minister assured that he will make sure to back the fight for Eastern Region and Ghana as a whole to gain its betterment.