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The people of Bepotintin, near Ashanti Bekwiare, must have been relieved, following the arrest of the Chinese-born ‘galamsey’ or illegal mining operator,

Aisha Huang, whose area of operation included their farmlands. They must be relieved because the continuous vandalising of their cocoa farms has ceased. But their relief must be short lived, because their once lucrative cocoa farms are no more and, in its place, are lost livelihoods, degraded farm lands and destroyed water bodies.

In the words of Civic Response’s Albert Katako, who visited the area recently, “the worst is yet to come, because the cumulative impacts of hazardous chemicals used in mining, will begin to manifest later in the health of the people, in about five years from now”.

It is for this reason, among others, that participants at a debate event a fortnight ago in Accra on irresponsible mining, called for a one year moratorium on illegal mining, within the short-term. This is to allow for space for broadened discussions on the subject and to define long-term mutually-beneficial and appropriate solutions.

Read more: Forum held on irresponsible mining in Ghana

The Omanhen of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, has warned that the fight against illegal mining will only be successful when there is honesty and no corruption in the country. According to him, there is a lot of dishonesty and corruption in the society, especially with regard to the mining industry.

“What we’re seeing is as a result of reaping the rewards of corruption as a country. And we cannot afford to go to sleep or stop this campaign against illegal mining. We’re paying a heavy price for what is happening in the mining industry,” he said.

In an interview with Business Day Ghana at a stakeholders’ forum organized by the Wacam in Accra, Nana Kobina Nketsia V disclosed that there are strong political powers behind the illegal mining activities Ghana is faced with.

Read more: Nana Kobina Nketsia fingers political powers in galamsey

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