"The war on illegal galamsey mining activities in the Ashanti Region will be surely won by hook or by crook in order to save the environment from depleting and causing damage to human lives and the country's natural resources."
"Due to the worrying nature of the galamsey menace in the region and the danger it poses to the various farming communities there is the urgent need for all hands to be on deck for the prevention of illegal mining in the Ashanti Region and Ghana as a whole through effective regulatory framework by various stakeholders."
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Sarpong made these remarks during a visit to three illegal mining popularly called galamsey sites at the Oda Forest Reserve in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region on Tuesday.
After observing the huge destruction that took place at the various galamsey sites at the Oda Forest Reserve in the Amansie Central District, Mr. Sarpong was lost for words and expressed his bitterness over the nature of harm such dastardly acts of destruction and impunity had on the future of the environment and its resources of the area.
Mr. Sarpong revealed that following security intelligence by the security services, 10 Ghanaians and 2 Chinese were arrested in connection with those galamsey pits in the Oda forest area. He ordered for the arrest of one Robert Gyamasi, the NADMO Co-ordinator for Adansi South District who was alleged to have been behind the operations of the galamsey activities in the area for investigations.
The District Manager of the Forestry Commission in-charge of the Bekwai Forest District of the area, Mr Francis Bawuah disclosed that about 1.64.43 square metres of land in the area had been destroyed by the activities of galamsey miners in recent times. This, according to him, represented 20 acres of land mass of the forest.
The Director of Operations at the Ghana Forestry Commission, Mr. Alexander Boadu lamented that the rate at which the country's forest and environment was being depleted due to illegal timber logging and the precarious galamsey mining was very dangerous.
He mentioned for instance that apart from, the Oda Forest Reserve which was being affected by the galamsey mining there were other more forest reserves that were also badly affected elsewhere in the country. These, he said, included the Apampram, Supuma and Desiri forest reserves all in the Ashanti Region as well as Bonsa and Upper-wusu forest reserves also in Western Region of Ghana among others.
Mr. Boadu therefore urged various stakeholders including the media to assist in educating the people in the various affected communities to be wary of the negative repercussions of the galamsey mining to the environment that turned to pose a serious danger to the health of the people who live around those galamsey areas.
It was also emerged that 13 excavators had been confiscated from the illegal miners by the District's Mineral Commission and the police.
Source: ISD (Justice Achaah Adoah)