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06 July 2017

Rescue efforts suspended at Prestea-Nsuta collapsed mining pit following heavy rains

File photo: Illegal miners sometimes dig deep trenches to reach gold deposits.

Rescue efforts to rescue illegal miners trapped in a pit at Prestea-Nsuta in the Western Region have suspended operation following heavy rains in the area.

The search is in its fourth day and hopes of finding anyone alive has significantly diminished.

At least 14 persons remain under the collapsed mining pit, however, Best FM’s Kojo Fletcher reports that four hours of heavy downpour has disrupted rescue operation.

A total of 19 artisanal miners are believed to have been working at the pit when the accident happened on Sunday, but only five have been rescued so far.

The disaster comes at a time when the government is waging war on illegal mining across the country.

A number of arrests have been made and excavators owned by the galamsey miners have been seized by the government taskforce set up to fight illegal mining.

The Nsuta pit collapse will provide extra motivation for the country to fight and possibly end the illegal mining activities which have destroyed the country’s environment and water bodies.

The Government has said it will deploy the military to illegal mining areas to begin a new chapter in the war against the menace.

According to Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Benito Owusu-Bio, the deployment of the military has become necessary to prevent a recurrence of Sunday’s tragedy.

There is currently a ban on small-scale mining as part of efforts to end illegal mining and its degrading effects on the environment.

Illegal mining activities have destroyed water bodies and ecosystems in mining communities in the Ashanti, Western, Eastern and Volta Region.

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