The Shama District Assembly in the Western Region has placed a temporary ban on clay mining in the district to check the activities of individuals and companies undertaking them illegally.
District Chief Executive Joseph Amoah said the measure has become necessary following the emergence of some unscrupulous individuals who have entered the district and mining clay without the express approval of the assembly and the relevant regulatory bodies.
“The Assembly is also losing revenue due to the activities of the illegal clay miners. But ultimately, the ban we have imposed is to help protect the environment from wanton destruction.”
At the last count, there were over 50 clay miners in the Shama District.
The mined clay is supplied to tile manufacturing companies in the district including KEDA Ceramics and WANGKANG Ghana Ceramic Limited.
The clay mining is mostly carried out at Supomu Dunkwa, Beposo, Ohiamadwen and Daboase Junction.
Unfortunately, large tracts of arable farmlands are being lost to the activities.
The clay miners are, among other things, supposed to pay conveyance fees and set aside an amount of their proceeds to backfill pits created.
Only a small percentage of the miners are honouring this financial obligation with majority flouting the order with the alleged connivance of some traditional rulers.
To ensure that there is sanity, Mr. Amoah said the assembly has agreed to put a temporary ban on clay mining in the district.
“We have had a couple of meetings involving the clay miners, the buying companies and the statutory bodies. We have agreed that we need to ensure that they obtain license and permit before they continue with the clay mining. We also agreed that we need to expedite the period for which they obtain the license and permit because sometimes the process takes long. Again, there is the need to expedite things because the factories also need the raw materials the clay to work. These are investors who have come and invested to help the economy with employment so we need to strike a balance. But that notwithstanding we cannot sit down for the miners to destroy the environment thus the ban.”
He said as part of a new licensing and permitting regime, operators will have to submit a detailed proposal on how their operations will be carried out at their respective sites.
Mr. Amoah added that the clay miners will also have to prove how they intend to reclaim the mined out site.
“We are also looking at how the assembly itself can look at reclaiming parts of the mined out land by even using some of the areas as refuse dumping sites so that we will fill them up with refuse, cover them with soil and after a few months it will turn into manure which can be used for other purposes.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana