Government Facing Challenges In Tackling Illegal Miners – Victor Smith

Mr Victor Smith, the Eastern Regional Minister, has noted with concern that the fight against illegal mining, was not making a headway, because those involved regarded the activity as their means of survival.

He said despite massive destruction those activities were causing to the environment, many issues concerning their livelihoods and survival matters were making it difficult to tackle the issue because those involved were claiming they had no jobs.

Mr Smith said government was not condoning those illegal activities which were destroying lives and properties in parts of the region saying after many operations to flush the illegal miners out, the perpetrators still found their way back to those mining sites.

Briefing members of the Ghana Armed Forces Staff and Command College Course 34 on their tour of the region in Koforidua on Monday, Mr Smith said illegal mining was a major challenge eroding all the gains that the government had made in the area.

The Regional Minister said illegal activities had rendered the environment unsafe for human activities such as farming saying discarded pits could only be likened to landmines that had been left uncovered.

Mr Smith indicated that the situation had compelled the Ghana Water Company to shut down a treatment plant at Kyebi.

Colonel M.I. Tetteh, who led the team to the region, said they were on a five- day environmental tour to acquaint themselves with challenges in the area saying another group was in the Upper West region on a similar mission.

He said the main focus of the team was on youth employment, poverty alleviation and environmental degradation and to ensure that they were able to contribute to strategies devised to tackle those challenges.

As part of the tour, a meeting of all heads of departments and agencies met to brief the members on their operations in the region.