Prestea youth declare ‘war’ over anti-galamsey taskforce


Tension is mounting in the Prestea-Huni Valley area as angry youth there have vowed to hit the streets over the presence of a joint Police/Military taskforce – a disincentive to illegal mining.

The youths are hoping the demonstration will force government and  Golden Star resources Limited, operators of the Prestea underground mine, to fully activate the mine. This will enable them mine for the precious mineral.

The mining company has been insisting the current fall in the price of gold, is a disincentive to maximizing the underground mine.

Ashanti Goldfields, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited and  the Golden Star Resources Limited, all have mining concessions in the mineral rich  Western Region.

But the area is also magnetic centre for illegal mining activities. There are also persistent reports of deaths associated with the illegal ‘galamsey’ operations.

Three illegal miners last January died in the Prestea-Huni Valley district when a pit in which they were searching for gold nuggets got flooded and collapsed on them.

In May last year, 40 Chinese nationals were also arrested by the Western Regional Police Command for illegal mining and prospecting in the Kutukrom forest near Prestea.

Students sitting the Basic Education Certificate  Examniation are reported to have been abandoning their studies to engage in the commercially vialbe but life threatening activity.

Police and military personnel were dispatched to the area to curb the practice and an inter-ministerial committee is fighting the menace everywhere.

But the community is unhappy about the restrictions placed by the presence of security personnel in an area where unemployment is very high.

Tension is mounting in the area as the angry youth have vowed to hit the streets whether they get police protection or not.

Posters and banners litter the community announcing the protest with support from the Divisional Chief of Prestea Himan, Nana Nteboa Pra IV  and the MP Mr Francis Adu-Blay Koffie.

The demonstration is also targeted at the government for what the community call the total neglect of campaign promises to fix the roads there. Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|edwin.appiah@myjoyonline.com

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