The Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Eric Kwakye Darfour, has given the assurance that companies, individuals and entities would be duly licensed to mine.
Hon. Darfour explained that the deployment of the police and army was to ensure that mining companies complied with the directive to stop mining for six months.
Addressing a meeting with mining companies in the Eastern Region, security services and the media in Koforidua, the regional minister indicated that Government could not sit unconcerned while the environment was degraded and water bodies polluted.
"In the Eastern Region, all our major river bodies have been polluted with all kinds of things and as December 2016, the Birim River had become so contaminated that between Kyebi and Kwabeng where there are five water treatment plants, all have been shut down because it could not be treated," he stated.
In a statement, the regional representative of the Council of State, Nana Mireku Somuah Nyampong III, noted that there were about 400 legal miners in the Eastern Region and that the number of illegal miners outnumbered the legal ones.
Nana Mireku Somuah Nyampong III, therefore, urged Government to intensify efforts to stop illegal mining in the country.
Another Council of State member, Kofi Ashong, supported the fight against illegal mining and recommended that monitoring of efforts should be made a key tool in the fight.
He, therefore, charged the regulatory authorities - Forestry Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Water company Limited, Minerals Commission, among others - to live up to their task.
Source: ISD (Evelyn Harvey)