The District Security Council (DISEC) in Ayensuano District, Eastern Region, has issued an indefinite ban on sand winning activities.
The decision, made during a meeting with sand winning contractors, is in reaction to the growing environmental damage and disputes linked with unlawful sand mining.
The indiscriminate activities have interrupted investments, destroyed farmlands, and caused in deadly battles between farmers and armed illicit sand winners.
Recent victims include Boateng Dapaah, a 60-year-old farmer from the Teacher Mante village, who lost his field to illicit sand winners.
Even a 100-acre plot of land set aside for Blue Skies’ £25 million industrial park project was subjected to illicit sand-winning activities, resulting in serious damage.
Josephine Ansaa Awuku Inkoom, District Chief Executive for Ayensuano and Chairperson of DISEC, announced the prohibition, which would be reviewed after six months.
During the term, DISEC will simplify and implement mechanisms to adequately manage sand mining activities in the district.
However, local farmers are skeptical, claiming that DISEC has previously failed to collect vehicles and excavators used by illicit sand winners.
This pessimism is based on worries about the ban’s enforcement and efficacy.
Baah Boakye Michael, National Organiser of the Sand and Stone Miners Association, disagreed with the prohibition but acknowledged the significance of adhering to legal frameworks.
He raised concerns about delays in permit acquisition from the Minerals Commission and called for a decentralized permitting process.