The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in the Upper West Region has expressed concern about the activities of illegal small-scale miners, known as “galamsey”, in some parts of the region.
It said those activities were a threat to quality water production and supply from the Jumbussie water treatment plant at the Wa West District due to the increasing turbidity level of the water from the Black Volta.
Mr Cletus Diekuu, the Upper West Regional Water Quality Assurance and Production Manager at the GWCL, expressed the concern when a joint team from the Upper West Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and the Wa West District Security Committee (DISEC) visited some galamsey sites in the Wa West District.
The visit was occasioned by a report from the GWCL to the national security on the activities of illegal miners in the area, which had been a threat to the effective operation of the company.
The team, led by Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, visited a galamsey exploration site at the GWCL Booster station at Dorimon and mining sites at Kolingu and Poyentanga in the District.
The team destroyed four chanfangs, two water pumping machines, and a mechanised borehole all at a galamsey site within the Poyentanga enclave.
Mr Diekuu noted that those activities had a direct effect on the river since the chemicals from the mining activities were washed into the river by the rains.
“During this rainy season, we are recording turbidity of 3,000, in the dry season we record 100, at most 200, and our standard is that the water we treat for consumption should be five or less in terms of turbidity.
“Imagine bringing it from 3,000 to five, it means you have to use a lot of chemicals to bring it out before you get the clean water”, he explained.
Mr Diekuu said it had implications on the cost of production and a trickle-down effect on the consumers as they had to pay more to cover the cost of production, adding that the high turbidity level of the water could also lead to the shut-down of the plant.
Dr Salih, the Chairman of REGSEC, indicated that the activities of the illegal miners were unacceptable and would not be condoned in the region.
He said REGSEC would not sit aloof while those activities continued, and gave the assurance that they would intensify their monitoring to arrest the menace.
“If we allow them to continue then that will serve as a security threat to the people of the region and Ghana”, the REGSEC Chairman intimated.
Madam Vida Diorotey, the Wa West District Chief Executive and Chairman of the DISEC, noted that the assembly was collaborating with the security services and the traditional leaders in the district in the fight against the menace.
She said the DISEC would embark on rigorous community sensitization on illegal mining to encourage the communities to report such activities to the assembly for prompt action to be taken against them.
Mr Baba Sandow, an Assistant Officer at the Upper West Regional Office of the Minerals Commission, noted that the commission was working assiduously to stop the illegal mining activities in the region.
He said they had been involving the security services in the monitoring activities and expressed hope that they will win the fight against galamsey.