Illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘galamsey’ has resurfaced in the Kosane, Taforo, Kwaku Adukrom and Yawbofokrom communities in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region with a revised method of operation by the culprits.
The illegal miners are now executing their nation-wrecking activities at night and this has compelled respective local authorities to devise new strategies to fight the menace.
Their activities however, came to a brief halt following the introduction of measures by Mr. Drissa Ouattara, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), which led to some arrests at Kwaku Adukrom and Yawbofokrom, seizure of excavators and their subsequent prosecution in 2017.
Mr. Ouattara disclosed this when he was addressing the first ordinary meeting of the Municipal Assembly at Dormaa-Ahenkro, saying as part of recent initiatives to curb the menace, the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) on Wednesday, April 21 this year visited Kosane and Taforo.
He said security personnel seized five pumping machines, quantities of water holes, pick axes, shovels and four unregistered motor bikes.
Mr. Ouattara said last Tuesday, June 15 Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister came on a working visit purposely to discuss ways to curb illegal mining activities in the Municipality.
“We again visited Kosane and Taforo and I can tell you that these recalcitrant illegal miners have returned to site now by operating in the night”, he said.
The DCE pleaded with chiefs and the youth in those communities to help the MUSEC to stop the illegal mining activities, saying that, “the land at Kosane and Taforo have been destroyed beyond imagination and it will cost millions of Cedis to be able to reclaim it”.
On sand winning, Mr. Quattara said even though sand winning was sufficiently captured in the Assembly’s bye-laws to be regulated, compliance and enforcement have been very difficult because efforts to engage stakeholders to enforce operational standards and to monitor their activities have proved futile.
He nevertheless, assured sand winners that the Assembly would do everything within its mandate to regulate their operations.
Touching on other activities causing environmental degradation, Mr. Ouattara said “indiscriminate cutting of trees and sand winning could be associated with negative effects on the environment – land degradation, noise and air pollution, destruction of farm lands and health related problems like malaria, skin diseases and buruli ulcer”.
He said he was not against cutting of lumber for construction and other useful purposes, but if anyone wanted to engage in the lumber business, one must go for the necessary documents to obtain a concession.
Mr. Ouattara therefore appealed to timber constructors working in the Municipality to fulfil their legal obligations by retaining 30 per cent lumber for the local market.
He said Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu II, the Paramount Chief of Dormaa Traditional Area and Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister recently went to ascertain the level of destruction of the ‘Mpameso’ forest reserve, saying they were shocked and very disappointed and subsequently instituted measures to stop that impunity.