Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has cautioned his sub-chiefs to desist from engaging in illegal mining activities because he will not hesitate to sanction them if found culpable.

He disclosed that he has commenced investigations into some chiefs alleged involvement in galamsey activities especially in the Fomena and Amansie West districts.

Asantehene was delivering a keynote address at the Ashanti regional Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining at the Great Hall of KNUST in Kumasi.

The dialogue was attended by the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor; Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie.

Participants included organised Small Scale Mining Companies and Associations, Mining Companies, Political Parties, MMDCEs in the Bono East, Bono and Ahafo regions, Traditional Authorities, Member of Parliament and regional Ministers in the four regions.

The first National Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining was held from 14th to 15th April 2021 at the Accra International Conference Centre, under the vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to organise a national discourse to solicit diverse views to develop appropriate policy options for the small-scale mining subsector.

As chairpersons of the district security councils responsible for the security issues, Otumfou called for the need for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to be held responsible for any illegal mining activities in their jurisdictions.

The Asante Monarch wants mining activities near river bodies to be banned except properly designed alluvial mining while calling on the government to engage legal small scale miners because they know the illegal miners.

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor justified why his Ministry is decommissioning and demobilising excavators.

He said illegal small scale mining activities is an extraordinary problem and needs extraordinary measures to tackle the canker.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei Mensah also suggested naming and shaming any government appointees involved in galamsey.

Meanwhile, members of the Ghana Small Scale Miners Association wore a red armed band at the dialogue to protest and express their displeasure over the way and manner the government is fighting the galamsey activities.

The Ashanti Regional Secretary to the association, Michael Adu Gyamfi said the burning of excavators and other equipment by the Operation Halt team is unfortunate.

He also complained about some of their members who have been denied access to work despite having a genuine license to operate.

But the Small Scale Miners commended Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for entreating the government to engage them in the fight against the galamsey activities.

Story by Elisha Adarkwa