Angry Gwira Traditional Council Bans Okobeng Mines
The Gwira Traditional Council in the Western Region has petitioned the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to probe the activities of Okobeng Mining Company Limited on their lands,and uphold the council’s decision to ban the mining firm from undertaking any mining activities in their area.
According to the council, the traditional leaders have resolved to place the ban on the company because of its alleged continuous illegal mining activities in the area and,therefore, would need urgent approval from the ministry, Minerals Commission and the security agencies to enforce their decision.
They insist that, the alleged illegal mining operations by the Okobeng Mining firm are causing irreversible damage on the affected communities and the livelihood of the people in the area.
This was disclosed yesterday, Wednesday, February 1, 2023, when a delegation of the Gwira Traditional Council paid a courtesy call on the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
According to the chiefs, aside from the illegal mining activities, they also observed that the owner of Okobeng Mining and his cohorts have been carrying out other activities with security implications thathave the potential of degenerating into a full-scale crisis if preventive measures are not expeditiously instituted.
Nana Ette Akrade II, the Divisional Chief of GwiraBanso in the Nzema East Municipality, who led the delegation, mentioned that, a number of companies are undertaking mining operations on their lands, without the required license, something which the chiefs have made moves to stop, but will need backing from the ministry to flush them out.
The Council has, therefore, declared their support for government’s fight against illegal mining and expressed their readiness to collaborate with relevant agencies to clamp down on the menace in the area, he said.
On his part, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for mining, George Mireku Duker, who received the delegation, on behalf of the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, assured that the ministry, through the Minerals Commission and allied agencies, will probe the concerns raised by the chiefs and take necessary actions to resolve the situation.
He promised the ministerwill be briefed on the issues raised and that drastic measures will be put into action to address the issues.
Mr.Duker also appealed to the Gwira Traditional Council to petition the Ghana Police Service, as well as the Interior Ministry, to take up the matter and restore calm in the area.
“I promise to follow up the issues and investigate them. The situation with Okobeng is a major concern for everyone in the country. There have been shooting incidents, among other things, so I’m glad you are now taking action against Okobeng. Ghanaians must be concerned with what is going on with Okobeng,” he said.
He added that, “I also believe that you must inform the IGP and Interior Minister about the situation for the necessary measures to be taken,Just as you petitioned us, kindly petition the Ghana Police Service and Interior.”
“We’ll investigate the issues relative to the licenses but the security issues are to be directed to the police, so I will beg of you to petition them,” the Deputy Minister appealed to the chiefs.
The Anchor, it would be recalled, recently reported on the alleged activities of the embattled mining firm on the banks of the Ankobra River, which, according to residents, are causing pollution to water bodies in the area.
The company has since denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the paper because it claims its operations are legitimate.