RESIDENTS of Nyame Ani, a farming community in Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region, have bemoaned the rampant killing of innocent persons and children by huge pits created by both licensed and illegal miners in the area.
The residents cannot fathom why the regulators such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Minerals Commission have allowed gold mining companies operating in the area to violate mining regulations by failing to adhere to environmental best practices as required by Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, (Act 703).
Under the Minerals and Mining Law (Act 703 of 2006) of Ghana, Today gathered that mining companies were required to refill the pits they create after mining activities in their concessions. But in the case of Nyame Ani community, residents told Today that gold mining companies and illegal miners in the area predominately Chinese nationals violated the law with impunity.
In an interview with Today, the residents blamed the negligence of EPA and Minerals Commission for the many pit disasters in the area.
However, Head of Communications at Ghana Minerals Commission, Mr. Isaac Abraham, has debunked this assertion. According to him, the commission does not regulate illegal mining activities, saying the situation in the area has to do with the massive illegal mining activities in the area.
The residents found it outrageous that between 2014 and 2016 twenty-five (25) persons fell in the huge pits created by illegal miners and died. They stated categorically that four natives of Nyame Ani community recently fell into a pit created in the area.
Today has gathered that tension was building up in the area after the latest death involving a farmer who also fell into one of such pits. Communities in the district became war zones since 2014 when inhabitants rose up against some Chinese nationals who were believed to be illegal miners.
The residents explained to Today that the situation might escalate if the new government under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo fails to address it comprehensively.
They pointed out that constituents were displeased with activities of illegal miners which they said was accounting for the pollution of their water bodies and the destruction of their farms. “If nothing is done about it, we will take the law into our own hands,” some of the residents warned. During a recent visit to Nyame Ani, Today found huge pits at many places which were yet to be covered.