Two Chinese ‘galamseyers’ arrested in Western Region

file photo: Mining

Security operatives have arrested two Chinese illegal miners at their rented residence at Ateiku in the Western Region.

The Wassa East District Security Council, who led the arrest, said the miners, who armed guards were protecting, were operating at a site in Patatwumso.

The District Chief Executive for Wassa East, Wilson Arthur, explained that their attention was drawn to the said operation five weeks ago.

The District Police Command and National Intelligence Bureau (BNI) operatives were sent to the said location, but the miners fled.

Further information, however, revealed that the illegal miners had begun disassembling their machines and leaving the mining site.

Based on the new information, a decision was made to arrest the two Chinese at their residence, about 10 kilometres from the illegal mining site.

“We cooperated with the national team and successfully picked up two Chinese who were at the Ateiku residence. They led the team to the Patatwumso site, and exhibits were picked,” Wilson Arthur said.

As part of efforts to deal with illegal mining, Mr Arthur said a ‘Heritage Pra Forum’ had been created in collaboration with seven MMDCEs in the area.

The team would be sharing intelligence and responsive ideas to stop the pollution along the entire stretch of River Pra.

“Ten boats are being manufactured for this project. Jingles targeting attitudinal change are being produced to be run in communities bordering river Pra, among other solutions. The district has acquired life jackets and three boats and trained volunteers to help patrol the Pra river within Wassa East,” he added.

Over the years, there has been growing public frustration over efforts to reclaim damaged environments.

Polluted water bodies like River Pra are still looking brownish with residues of cyanide.

Some areas of the country initially covered by thick vegetation have become bare.

The NPP government launched Operation Vanguard in 2017 to reclaim mining zones from environmental degradation caused by illegal mining.

President Nana Akufo-Addo made the fight against illegal mining one of the key objectives of his government.

“I have said it in the Cabinet, and perhaps this is the first time I am making this public, that I am prepared to put my Presidency on the line on this matter,” he said in 2017.

The government set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).

A nationwide ban on small-scale mining and illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, followed.

After four years,  the government is under pressure to highlight the positives following several scandals.

There is an increasing perception that politicians are neck-deep in illegal mining and are frustrating the fight.

Even the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining has not been free from scandals.

Its secretary, Charles Bissue, resigned after an undercover investigation implicated him.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service concluded in their report that Mr Bissue did not circumvent laid down processes.

This was after President Akufo-Addo called for a probe into the matter following a documentary by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

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