A section of the Accra-Kumasi railway line at Osino in the Fanteakwa District in the Eastern Region has allegedly been destroyed by two mining companies.
Kibi Goldfields Limited and Narawa Mining are alleged to have gone beyond their allowed limits and mined the buffer zones of the Birim River and either yanked off part of the line or mined beside it.
The two companies have since ceased their activities following the directive of a court.
During a visit to the area last Saturday, the Daily Graphic saw the railway lines removed and packed in a bushy area on the concession of the Kibi Goldfields, while the section on the Narawa concession was exposed because of mining activities along it, contrary to the two companies’ cadastral map.
The map dictates the allowable limits of mining activities on a given concession.
Eastern Corridor Railway Line
The activities of the two companies come at a time the government has expressed the desire to revive the railway industry, including the rehabilitation of the Eastern Corridor Railway Line.
The Accra-Kumasi line is the Eastern Railway Line which covers a distance of 330km and starts from Accra to Kumasi, with a branch line from Achimota to Tema. When the line becomes operational, it will decongest the Tema Port and facilitate the movement of cargo and passengers to Kumasi and its environs.
An unhappy Chief of Akyem Hemang, Osabarima Mmirrikkissi Okasum Apori, who has mounted a campaign against the two mining companies, described them as irresponsible miners.
“The map says they should be 100 metres away, but they have destroyed the railway line. The line may not be functional but it’s a public property which shouldn’t be said,” he mentioned.
Apart from the damage to the railway line, the Daily Graphic also saw extensive damage that had been done to the Birim River, with a section of the river allegedly diverted by Kibi Goldfields without the consent of the Water Resources Commission (WRC) as required by law.
At the time the Daily Graphic visited the area, the two companies were not mining but the trail of destruction was evident.
There were uncovered pits and trenches with water within what used to be a cocoa farm, according to Osabarima Apori.
At the Narawa site, there were visible signs of mining activities close to the Birim River with portions of it filled.
According to Osabarima Apori, it took a court’s directive for the companies to halt their activities.
The operations of the two companies had ceased due to an injunction granted Osabarima Apori by a Koforidua High Court in October last year.
The court had held that the two mining companies had breached the mining laws by working within the buffer zone.
War on illegal mining
The Akyem Hemang chief had waged a war on illegal mining in the area. He explained that his fight against the miners was a pre-emptive defence to prevent the two companies from extending the harm they had caused at Osino to his stool lands.
When contacted, an official of the WRC, Mr Mawuli Lumor, who led a team to the area to assess the operations of the two companies following a request from Osabarima Apori, agreed that they had breached the terms of mining.
The Daily Graphic also found out that the two companies had no environmental permit, an assertion Mr Lumor admitted and said they had been directed to acquire the document from the Environmental Protection Agency.
He, however, stated that the companies adhered to the water management standard within their operational areas.