Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II says the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council will no longer tolerate community mining in the area.
This stance flies in the face of a community mining policy introduced by the Akufo-Addo government from 2016, to curb galamsey (illegal mining).
According to the Okyenhene, the policy rather seem to have provided a cover for illegal mining, and is causing destruction to land and water bodies in the Akyem area.
He made the remark while addressing the Eastern Regional Minister and his entourage who paid a courtesy call on him at the Ofori Panin Palace.
President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, 25th July 2019, launched the Community Mining Programme, aimed at regularizing small-scale mining in selected communities across the country.
With at least one community mine expected to be set up in each of the mining districts in the country, the community mines are estimated to provide employment for more than 4,500 miners that were trained by Government at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa.
The policy has, however, received lots of criticism by environmental watchers who say it is causing more harm than good.
Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin minced no words describing the Community Mining Policy as the “uncle or senior brother of galamsey”.
“They are destroying lands and rivers. The last time the Minister of Lands and Natural resources came here, I told him point-blank that, they shouldn’t deceive us with community mining. It will end nowhere.
“Community mining is like an uncle or senior brother of galamsey. They degrade lands and pollute river bodies just as galamsey does,” he stated.
Okyenhene noted that under community mining, there is no accountability and no reclamation of land, and yet it is supposed to be a government policy.
“We will not allow this to continue because when the rivers are destroyed they don’t blame the MCE rather the Okyenhene because the lands belong to me,” he said.
Okyenhene said he has personally informed the President and the Finance Minister about his decision and he intends to speak with the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Abu Jinapor as well.
“Enough is enough. We will not allow community mining to go on here. We will not allow it. It is not doing any good to anyone not even government. River bodies, lands and forest should not be destroyed under NPP government. We need to put an end to it. We must stop it now,” he quipped.
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin also lamented the invasion of Kyebi by illegal migrants engaging in illegal mining in the area, stating that he and his chiefs are making efforts to drive them away.
“Now Nigeriens come in truckloads of vehicles to engage in illegal mining here. But we (traditional council) don’t have policy, we don’t have ammunition to stop them. When you ask immigration how they arrived they don’t give us any better answers. Kyebi is full of illegal aliens who are engaged in illegal activities. MCE is not able to do anything about it, we the traditional council can’t also do anything about it so if government is also not doing anything about it then we are doomed. We have spoken and spoken about this but nothing has been done. I went there with my chiefs to drive them away,” he said.