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Eastern Regional Coordinating Council proposes stiffer punishment for galamsey operators

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Small scale miners

The Eastern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), has set up a committee to draft a recommendation to be submitted to the Attorney General for consideration, advocating stiffer punishment for illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey”.

As part of the recommendation, the committee proposed that any equipment, tool or article used by persons convicted of illegal mining or lumbering should be confiscated to the state whether or not such a tool or equipment belonged to the illegal miner.

The Regional Minister, Dr Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, made this known at the second edition of the Regional Meet the Press session at Koforidua on Wednesday and indicated that the current court fines were not deterrent enough and had made it difficult for the RCC to control the devastating being caused to the environment.

He said the application of the existing mining law had not helped the efforts of the RCC and the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) as offenders were fined ridiculously low amounts and their equipment including excavators and water pumping machines returned to them by the courts.

Dr Apea-Kubi indicated that a tour to some towns such as Asiakwa showed horrible situations where deep pits had been left on people’s farms by the illegal miners, and that the source of the Birim River had been polluted to the extent that the Ghana Water Company (GWC) had shut down its treatment plant.

He said apart from the Illegal mining, the activities of chainsaw lumbering and Nomadic herdsmen remained a big security threat and a source of worry for the RCC, and that this time round thre was going to be real action rather than just verbal rhetoric.

The Regional Minister called for the support of the media through advocacy and public education on the devastating effects of those activities on the people so that with a concerted effort there could be a solution to the problem.

Source: GNA

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