Tarkwa, one of the oldest mining towns in West Africa is sitting on timebomb due to the operations of illegal miners, this was the conclusion Lands and Mineral resources Minister; Collins Dauda drew when he led a fact-finding mission to Tarkwa to assess the extent of damage caused by the operations of illegal (galamsey) miners to various sites.
About a 1,000 strong force of “galamseyers” have invaded a 1898 shaft abandoned by the defunct State Gold Mining Company (SGMC) and are suing all manner of illicit means to mine gold ore.
Their operations which involve the use of explosives have so much weakened the shaft that it is feared it could collapse son.
The visit was also intended to meet the ‘galamseyers’ who are in groups known as ‘Wobedibi’, ‘Stai Joan’, ‘PACEY’ and ‘ Mohammed’. Mines Officials informed the minister that two years ago, the ‘galamseyers’ detonated explosives which sent shock waves down hill and caused cracks in the walls of the office of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), a fuel filling station and the Tarkwa market.
More worrying, they said, was the fact that the galamseyers had dug more than 64 pits over a stretch of 700 metres from Bogosu Junction to Tamso. Besides, groups numbering more than five were in competition with each another, with each of them claiming ownership of the shaft, even though they were not licensed to operate.
One of the groups, Stai Joan, operated directly under a VRA pylon which served the Tarkwa Township. At the site, the Minister and his team found pumping machines, plastic pipes, wooden boards, coconut planks and torchlights. There was a brisk market there as well.
After the tour, the Minister expressed concern about the negative impact of their operations on the Tarkwa community, and asked: “Why should the pursuit for wealth bring untold hardship to the people and endanger their lives.
“There are physical signs on the walls of school buildings and other public building which tell you that, after the buildings are gone, the whole township will collapse.” Alhaji Dauda observed that as the illegal miners burrowed the ceilings of the 19th century shaft and dug for gold ore, the area was becoming weak and “one day the supports (pillars) will come down”.
Source: The Ghanaian Times
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