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Residents of Akwatia cautioned against illegal diamond mining

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The Ghana Environmental Journalists Association (GEJA) has commended Government and its development partners for reviving the erstwhile Ghana Diamond Company which was closed down in 2007.

The Vice President, Mr John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, launched a Ghanaian owned company, the Great Consolidated Diamond Ghana Limited (GCDGL), which was to take over the mining of Diamond at Akwatia and surrounding communities in the Eastern region.

A statement issued and signed by Mrs. Hannah Awadzi, President of GEJA, said the association understood that the Company intended to establish an integrated diamond mining and processing industry which was to bring on board a management team and consultants with in-depth expertise, knowledge and skills in business, finance and community development.

It noted that the Company was to invest about 100 million US Dollars in a five-year multi-phase programme to provide jobs for 2,000 workers and ultimately 50,000 people.

The statement said while expressing joy over this new development, residents of beneficiary communities should be cautioned not to engage in illegal mining of Diamonds, an activity that could cause serious degradation to the environment.

“Not long ago, hundreds of residents in some parts of the Eastern Region suffered from floods, mainly because of the damage caused to the environment by “Galamsey” operations, it added.

Efforts have also been made by traditional leaders, government officials and other Non-Governmental Organizations to see an end to this illegal mining phenomenon but to no avail.

It said the association doubted that the good intentions of establishing this new company which was to mine Diamond and provide Jobs for the unemployed could be jeopardized if residents continue to adopt bad practices in mining the Diamond, which could destroy the environment.

It called on Government not to hesitate to arrest and prosecute any individual who engaged in “Galamsey” operations in the communities, since that would send a strong signal to all that the activity was frowned upon by the laws of the country.

It asked management of the company not to renege on its promises to support efforts to alleviate poverty and improve the standard of living of the people by employing the youth of the area and investing in developing the communities.

It urged operators of the company to engage in lawful mining practices and be mindful of activities that could endanger the environment.

Source: GNA

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