Ten miners have been confirmed dead after a mining pit collapsed on Thursday, 25 November at Wassa Esikuma in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region.
Four others were also severely injured and were rushed to the Tarkwa Government Hospital.
NADMO Director of the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality Francis Abeiku Yanka expressed his condolence to the families of the victims.
He also urged miners to adhere to all safety protocols in order to avert such disasters.
The dead bodies have been deposited at a morgue in Tarkwa.
Several lives have been lost and many wounded over the collapse of mining pits over the years yet safety is not a priority for some miners.
Mining-related deaths in the past
On September 9, 2021, three illegal miners died in a mining pit at Akyem Apinamang, a farming and mining community in the Denkyembuor District of the Eastern Region.
The deceased were Akosua Asantewaa, 41; Yaw Ntiamoah, 35; and Yaw Bismark, 25 years.
According to police, the assembly member for Akyem Apinamang, John Boakye, reported the incident to them after a hint that a pit had collapsed on some illegal miners around the old Apinamang cemetery.
The police then proceeded to the scene and found three bodies covered with leaves.
On June 3, 2021, nine persons who were trapped in an underground mining pit at Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region were confirmed dead.
The miners were trapped in tunnels in the underground pit following a heavy downpour on Tuesday, June 1.
A rescue team retrieved their bodies after spending almost three days pumping water out of the pit.
Again, on November 26, 2020, eight persons were reported dead at Ayanfuri in the Central Region after an illegal mine collapsed and trapped them.
The incident happened at Phase four, a place near Ayanfuri.
Despite attempts by residents to rescue the victims, they were pronounced dead on arrival at the Dunkwa-On-Offin Government Hospital.
On October 2, 2020, at least five miners were killed and 15 others critically injured in a collapsed mining pit in Ghana’s Central region.
On May 2, 2020, one person died after a mining pit caved in at Anyinam in the Eastern Region.
The deceased, identified as 37-year-old Abdul Razak Bempong is believed to have sustained serious injuries as a result of the collapse.
Mr Bempong was rushed to the Enyiresi Government Hospital for treatment but died shortly after arrival at the facility.
Fight against galamsey
Beyond mass deaths, illegal mining poses threats to the environment leading to a fight by the government to clamp down on such activities.
There is growing public frustration over efforts to reclaim damaged environments. 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, leaving many to wonder if an end is near.
The NPP government launched Operation Vanguard in 2017 to reclaim mining zones from environmental degradation caused by illegal mining.
The second term of the NPP also witnessed ‘Operation Halt’ to continue where the Vanguards left off.