The resurgence of illegal mining after a lost state battle on the menace looks more destructive than before.
Illegal miners operating in parts of the Eastern region are deleteriously exploring gold with impunity without regard to the regulatory framework.
Two major rivers -Densu and Birim are worst hit as the daring illegal miners have invaded the rivers mining the banks and bed deposits.
On Thursday, January 14, 2021, Police in Kibi pursued some illegal miners who were directly mining in the Densu river.
This was after A Rocha Ghana, an environmental NGO lodged a complaint.
“On-going mining activities close to the Densu River. The stretch from Odumase towards Apedwa. We made an official complaint to the police yesterday, and at 6 am this morning, they took a step”. Daryl Bosu, a deputy National Director of A Rocha Ghana said.
The miners claimed to work under a community mining project Instituted by the state.
“When the police team visited the site, the miners were not available due to the traditional no working taboo day. But some of the miners who were taken to the police station claimed they had a permit to work on the Concession belonging to Akooko Mine. Akooko Mine used to have a Concession in the area long ago, but that permit expired and due to poor practices, their permit was not renewed.”
However, checks by the Police Unit at Kyebi and a team from Water Resources Commission at Koforidua revealed that community miners’ claim of working in Concession belonging Akooko Mines was false.
The police have asked the miners to produce the necessary mining permits with immediate effect or risk confiscating all mining equipment within the catchment of the Densu basin.
The activities of illegal miners in and around the Birim and Densu rivers have led to the intermittent shutdown of water treatment plants by Ghana Water Company Limited.
The Bunso Water Treatment Plant pumps raw water from the Birim river to produce about 60,000 gallons of treated water to serve residents in communities such as Bunso, Nsutem , Etukrom, and its environs.
The activities of illegal Miners in the Birim River however continue to pollute raw water sources increasing the water turbidity sometimes to as high as 20,000NTU which is outrageously higher to treat.
According to the Ghana Water Company limited the expected raw water turbidity level ideal for treatment should be less than 3000NTU.
On April 7, 2020, for instance, water production started with raw water turbidity level of 2,760NTU as at 6:00 am but the turbidity rose to 20,820NTU around 10:00am forcing authorities to shut down the plant.
In recent times, the turbidity increased close to 8,000NTU.
The government’s attempted fight against illegal mining in 2017 failed.
President Akufo Addo during his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on January 5, 2021 to end his first term called for a non-partisan dialogue on the illegal mining menace popularly known as Galamsey for a collective effort to deal with it.