Illegal Mining is treasonable offence; Minister

Chiefs, Queen mothers, security agencies and committees on mining at the forum

Mr. George Mireku Duker, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, in charge of mining, has stated that illegal mining is a treasonable offence and anyone found culpable must be treated as such.

According to him, the activities of illegal miners is like killing a thousand people slowly, as such the activities pose problems for the kidneys and intestines of innocent Ghanaians from the mercury content of substances that enter our water bodies from mining operations in the rivers, besides defecation and indiscriminate urination into the water bodies, which serve as source of drinking water for farmers.

The minister said the development is worrying and must be of great concern to every Ghanaian.

Speaking at the engagement of District Mining Committees and other stakeholders in the Ashanti region on the fight against illegal mining, he entreated the Chiefs to help fight against illegal mining in their various jurisdictions.

According to him, every individual chief knows their jurisdiction or territory and must not pretend as if they are not aware as to whether illegal mining is going on in their areas or not.

He tasked the chiefs not to allow illegal miners to destroy the lands and water bodies at the expense of the people and urged them to resolve to collaborate with the security, Assemblies and opinion leaders in the fight against illegal mining in the country to ensure the protection and safety of the  our lands and water bodies.

The deputy minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem, reminded the chiefs of the role of our forefathers in protecting our lands and water bodies arguing that it is unacceptable to allow their destruction for the selfish interest of a few individuals.

He stressed that, most of the illegal miners are foreign nationals from the neibouring countries but because they pay rent landlords are unable to expose them.

He disclosed that as part of the President’s commitment to fight illegal mining, there is going to be river guards in permanent places at river banks and security posts at vantage points at every 300 meters where the river guards would be reporting to.

There would also be a situational room at the Minerals Commission to monitor the operations of the guards.

Mr. Duker, therefore, urged the police and other security agencies to help the MMDAs fight the canker.

Mr. Benito Owusu Bio, deputy minister for Lands and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Atwima Nwabiagya North, stated that government is not against mining but is against illegal mining and want Ghanaians to do mining in responsible and proper way to better the lives of the people.

He said the most important thing in mining is to protect the water bodies and lands in order not to starve future generations of water.


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