Two suspects have been detained by police at Axim in the Western Region’s Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality after they were accused of hiring nine Ghanaians and a Chinese person to engage in unlawful mining operations on the Okoben Mining Company Limited gold concession at Dominase.
The Chief of Ablebo, Nana Miensah, and a man named Ramsey, who is allegedly a National Security official, are the two suspects.
Following the arrest of the ten by the joint team of police, the Citizen Investigations Bureau (NIB), and National Security officers at Axim, the identities of these leaders who engaged the 10 alleged unlawful “galamseyers,” including a Chinese national, emerged.
The unauthorized miners detained in Dominase are Paul Aboagye, Asamoah Gyan, John Yembiri, Richard Sackey, Boris Laari, Kofi Bakaro, Boti Kofana Kwame Owusu, and Wei Yunzhao are all Ghanaians by nationality.
The suspects identified several people as having led them to the Okoben Mining Company Limited’s gold concession at Dominase, including the Chief of Ablebo, Nana Miensah; one Ramsey, a national security official; and one Kumah of Kedadwen, when they were apprehended on Wednesday, January 18.
Surprisingly, when questioned by the Axim Police, two of the alleged illegal miners from Ghana claimed to be members of the National Security.
For breaking into the gold mining concession of the Ghanaian-owned mining firm, seven Ghanaians, one of whom was Chinese, were detained in Dominase.
The Okobeng Mining Company Limited’s legitimately obtained gold mining concession in Dominase was invaded by hundreds of illegal Ghanaian miners, many of whom were foreigners. The nine male workers were among them.
On the concession of Okoben Mining Company Limited, these unlicensed miners engaged in extensive illegal mining activities while operating in defiance of the state mining regulatory institutions in Ghana, including the Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using heavy mining equipment.
Before Nana Okoben Amponsah, the owner of the concession, learned of the situation and quickly reported it to the Axim Divisional Police Command, these illegal miners—who did not even possess environmental permits or licenses from the government of Ghana—managed to engage in large-scale gold mining activities.
Police, National Investigations Bureau (NIB), and National Security officers from Axim in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality moved to the scene after Nana Okoben Amponsah filed an official report with the police. They were there to arrest nine illegal Ghanaian miners and one Chinese national.
The Ghana Police Service, in collaboration with the NIB and National Security, carried out the swoop as a part of the government’s redoubled campaign against illegal mining.
Information at hand suggests that there were more than ten illegal miners who broke into the concession, but some of them, mostly foreigners, managed to flee as National Security police stormed the scene to make the arrest.
Without Nana Okoben Amponsah, the company’s owner, knowing about it, the miners were able to indiscriminately dig for gold in the concession.
Additionally, they were able to clear substantial areas of cropland for cocoa in a forest near the enterprise, and their operations severely contaminated tributaries of the Ankobra River. The crew seized a number of heavy mining machines, including several excavators.
The Axim Divisional Police Command is holding these illegal miners at the moment to help the police with their inquiries.
The Chief Executive Officer of Okoben Mining Company Limited, Nana Okoben Amponsah, expressed concern that some “unpatriotic” Ghanaians are assisting foreigners to mine and destroy his gold mining concession at Dominase, which he has lawfully and legally secured for the past 24 years. This is happening in spite of the central government’s ban on illegal mining activities.
How is it possible that individuals are still participating in unlawful mining in spite of all the warnings and announcements? The thing that disturbs me the most is how it’s convenient for our own people to work with outsiders on this wrecking spree.
“It’s terribly sad,” he said. I do, however, solemnly swear that we will not stop. We will pursue them every day if that is what it takes.