Danger is looming at Baanka, a farming community in the Kwahu West Municipality of the Eastern Region, as illegal surface mining is gradually taking over the community.
These illegal miners from Wa in the Upper West Region and neighbouring countries such as Ivory Coast have dug almost every part of the community including homes.
Already, cocoa and other cash crops that were planted before the arrival of the illegal miners two years ago have died.
At the time of the visit by Onua TV team, these people were busily weeding a portion of land behind a mud house to commence surface mining.
Cocoa farms have been dug out for illegal mining while the leaves and plantain leaves have gone bad.
Chief of Baanka Nana Sarpong Komankoma II told Onua TV that they gave the people go-ahead to do the surface mining because they had no form of employment.
His spokesperson Awuah Bismark, in an interview, explained in Twi that “Yes. It’s true. They started two years ago because it’s difficult to get money here”.
“They came all the way from Wa with the purpose of the mining and we met them and discussed the modalities.
“They have helped us to build a community centre and we agreed that they should level it after digging and they are doing it. Our youth are also working with them and this has created employment.”
Mr. Awuah explained that “we use to build wooden structures but they are now building blocks”.
Permit from the government?
The Spokesperson said, “the government has not given them permission but we are ensuring they do the right things”.
“They did not bring any document indicating they had a permit but we tell them not to uproot the cocoa even though we had notion that cocoa can help but we sold them and they have not paid.
“That’s why we have given the lands to them for illegal mining. We do not have maze and cassava now because of the lack of rains.”
He noted that the proceeds from the illegal mining are divided into three: “One for the landowner, one for the one with the machine for detection and one for the digger”.
He noted that “we have given them the go-ahead because the government has not done anything for us”.
The Kwahu West Municipal Chief Executive, Yaw Owusu Addo, when contact on the issue, explained that the assembly is aware but several efforts to halt these illegal activities have not been successful.
He said soon there would be famine and scarcity of water in the area but the indigenes are not ready to cooperate with the Assembly to streamline things for them.
Lawyer Owusu Addo explained that there have been several attempts to train the youth, especially the indigene youths to venture into community mining but they are not ready to cooperate.
He noted that the Assembly and World Bank representatives went to the community to educate them on the dangers of illegal mining but none of the inhabitants was willing to speak to them.
The MCE said a series of letters have been written to the government on the need to halt the illegal mining but the impressions were created that illegal mining was not taking place in his municipality.
He was worried about the fact that soon, these illegal miners will leave the community and the children they give birth to with the women in the community would be a burden on the entire nation.
Source: 3 News