Assembly places ban on illegal sand and stone winning

Activities of illegal stone, sand and gravel winners in the Kpone Katamanso District in the Greater Accra Region have been identified as a major security threat in the area.

As a result, the assembly has placed a ban on the activities of all contractors engaged in the business in the area.

The District Chief Executive (DCE), Alhaji Antiye Tetteh, disclosed this at a workshop on streamlining operations of sand, gravel and stone winners in the area organised jointly by the Minerals Commission and the assembly at Kpone.

He said since the ban was imposed, the situation had stabilised and helped to reduce the tension, but admitted that some persons had gone underground and were operating illegally, and warned that the security agencies would deal with anyone caught flouting the ban.

The workshop brought together officials from the Minerals Commission, chiefs, contractors, assembly members and members of the District Security Committee to deliberate on the various laws supporting mining operations and how to streamline the act.

Alhaji Tetteh said though the assembly was aware of the repercussion of the ban on the economy of the district and, by extension, the survival of the operators in the industry and the residents, the assembly had also considered the lives and security of the people as superseding whatever gains were accrued from the industry.

A senior mines inspector at the Minerals Commission, Mr Joseph Frimpong, in a presentation, enumerated the various laws governing mining, and urged the chiefs and contractors to arm themselves with the regulations in order to protect the environment.

He maintained that acquiring mineral rights and licence was simple and appealed to all stakeholders to get involved to eliminate illegalities in the small-scale mining industry for a safe, judicious, sustainable and friendly green environmental mineral mining in the country.

Mr Frimpong advised the Kpone Katamanso District Assembly to set up a mining desk as a first step to co-ordinating mining activities in the district and also called for the cessation of the collection of taxes from contractors who engaged in illegalities.

A member of the Council of State, Mr Emmanuel A. Annang, said the non-enforcement of laws governing mining and the ease with which persons in authority compromised their position played a major role in the wanton destruction of the environment.

The Chief of Oyibi, Nii Borlabi Kukubi Okanshan VI, commended the district assembly for bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss the menace and agree on the role each of them had to play to preserve the peace of the area.

The first National Vice Chairman of the Association of Sand, Stone and Gravel Tipper Truck Users, Mr Frank Ashidan,  bemoaned the ban imposed on the extraction of the products in the district, and said it had affected the livelihood of the members.

He expressed the hope that the assembly, after such an elaborate sensitisation, would open itself up for dialogue and have the ban lifted.

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