Persons and companies that have resorted to mining clay without prior approval and licensing from the local assembly and regulatory agencies have been advised to do the needful or risk being arrested and fined.
For years, these clay miners have been excavating clay in the Shama District for tiles manufacturing company in the Western Region.
Learning of their illegal operations and the devastating nature of their work on the environment, especially on agriculture, the District Chief Executive (DCE), Joseph Amoah is threatening to crack the whip to end it.
Speaking at a Meet-The-Press encounter, he said a series of meetings have been held with the chiefs, landowners, security agencies and the tile manufacturing companies in an attempt to curb the illegality.
Asked if such operations could have any negative impact on rice production which is a major cash crop being cultivated in the district under the planting for foods and jobs programme, the DCE said lands that have been earmarked for that initiative have not been affected yet.
“We have an area demarcated for rice production and they have not entered that area. These are lands that the Agric department together with the Agric Ministry have demarcated for a project on rice production.”
He added that even though the Assembly is aware of the importance of clay as raw material to KEDA ceramic, one of the factories under the One-District One-Factory project in the Shama, getting the raw materials should be done responsibly and legally.
“Going forward we would see if a place can be demarcated for the clay mining to supply the ceramic companies,” he said.
He, however, added that the activities of the illegal clay miners have affected other crop growth and production.