The Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), led by Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Regional Minister, has expressed its resolve to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the Region.
Personnel of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has been deployed to patrol various illegal small-scale mining sites, also known as ‘galamsey’, to arrest culprits involved in the menace.
Some 16 excavators have so far been arrested at Amenfi in pursuance of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources’ call on regional ministers to lead the crusade in the fight against galamsey.
Mr Darko-Mensah, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, recounted the devastating impact of galamsey on water sources and the environment and the need for the RCC to lead the fight against the menace to protect those resources.
He said the Western Region had had it fair share of the repercussion of illegal mining, including the indiscriminate use of harmful chemicals in gold extraction, and called on all stakeholders to join the fight to avert the situation.
As part of efforts to ensure clean water bodies, Mr Darko-Mensah said his outfit was engaging several organisations with the requisite technologies to help improve the turbidity of the water.
He mentioned, for instance, that the RCC was discussing the possibility of collaborating with some United States water treatment companies like Waterlab Technologies to work with local organisations in that regard.
The Regional Minister said the REGSEC was working in full force with all the assemblies to rectify the anomaly.
He lauded the sector Ministry’s proposal to decentralised license regime for community and small scale mining to activate ownership, create jobs in local communities, monitor and regulate the activities of mining companies.
“I believe Ghanaians must be allowed to mine Ghana’s gold, profitably, in a socially responsible and environmentally friendly manner. This will make mining sustainable in Ghana and the Western Region.
“Therefore, our fight against illegal mining must be supported by all,” he said.
Mr Darko-Mensah said the opportunity for developing countries like Ghana with mineral deposits came with its attendant challenges.
However, he said, stakeholders must find ways of addressing the challenges and position the sector as less controversial to investors.
He said his administration had the vision to make the Western Region a business hub and a preferred choice for responsible mining investment.
Mr Darko-Mensah stressed the need to fight illegal mining, promote responsible mining activities and create the space to showcase technologies that would treat and remove waste from the water bodies.
He lauded the Ghana Mining Week initiative, which would not only reaffirm the Western Region as the region with the largest gold deposit in the country but also as a region that believed in the fight against illegal mining.
He therefore expressed the hope that this year’s event would position participants and sponsors on a global stage hence, create positive brand image and maximize their brand equity.