General News of 2013-04-18

Minister orders closure of illegal mine

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has ordered the closure of the illegal mining site where 17 miners were killed at Kyekyere, near Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central Region.

He also said earth-moving equipment abandoned at the site after use by the illegal miners should be confiscated.

Mr Fuseini made the call yesterday when he toured the mining site of last Monday’s tragedy and commiserated with the bereaved families.

He was accompanied by the National Security Co-ordinator, Lt. Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Professor Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo and officials of the Mineral Commisson, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).

Mr Fuseini was conducted round the mining site by the Central Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Sarpong, and the Municipal Chief Executive for the Upper Denkyira East Municipal Assembly, Mr Peter Kofi Owusu Ashia Jnr.

The Minister and his entourage visited the bereaved families at Kyekyere and Amoafo. Five of the victims were from Amoafo while the rest were from Kyekyere.

He told them that Ghanaians were deeply touched by their plight, adding that President John Dramani Mahama had plans to visit them.

Mr Fuseini said it was unacceptable for the lives of innocent young men and women to be cut short in such an avoidable manner.

Seventeen illegal gold miners —14 men and three women — were trapped to death when an abandoned mining pit in which they were digging for gold caved in at Kyekyewere, near Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central Region last Monday.

Thirteen others were rescued and rushed to the hospital for medical attention, while emergency workers searched for more victims believed to have been trapped in the mining pit.

Twelve of the deceased have been identified.

Rescuers searching for survivors on Tuesday suspended their work because of a local custom which prohibits any form of work in the community on Tuesdays.

Traditional leaders had warned that any attempt to work at the site would compel the gods to visit their anger on the rescue workers and even the entire community.