Defense lawyers in the trial of two Russians and two Ukrainians at an Accra Circuit Court for engaging in illegal mining in the country without a license have pleaded with the court to allow their clients to go home.

According to Emmanuel Kofi Darko, the families of his clients - Farid Isaev, Vadim Potokin, Serhii Chepurniy – all engineers, and Genadiy Rubec, a site manager, are worried about their situation.

Emmanuel claimed the families of the accused persons have continuously been lamenting overseas. He prayed the court to review the bail conditions to enable his clients to travel back to Russia and return when the prosecution begins its case.

This was after the prosecutor DSP Cletus Abadanlowra had prayed the court to adjourn the case. The trial judge subsequently adjourned the case until October 12, warning the prosecution not to fail to start its case.

It would be recalled that the court on June 14, 2017, granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of GH¢200,000 with one surety, who must be a Ghanaian. They were ordered to deposit their passports at the court registry. As part of the bail conditions, they were also ordered to report to the police every two weeks.

The accused persons on or about May 22, this year at Manso- Tontokrom in the Amansie Circuit of the Ashanti Region, conspired to undertake small-scale mining without authority.

DSP Abadanlowra said the complainant in the case is a police officer attached to the Lands and Forestry Ministry while the accused persons are from Russia and Ukraine and reside at Tontokrom in the Ashanti Region.

The Minister of Lands and Forestry, John Peter Amewu, recently gave an ultimatum to small-scale mining companies and illegal miners, popularly known as galamsayers, operating in the country to stop their activities till the regulation of their operations.

The government subsequently banned all forms of small-scale mining in the country till further notice. On May 22, Mr. Amewu and a team, including the complainant, went on a fact-finding tour at Manso Tontokrom to ensure that the ban was being complied and met the accused persons busily engaged in illegal mining (galamsey).

They used heavy-duty equipment to degrade a vast land, nearby destroying crops and cocoa farms of the inhabitants. They also polluted their source of drinking water. The accused persons stated that they were employees of Geo Professional Services (GPS), a mining company.

Impacts Galamsey on our Community

Though galamsey has been a profitable business to these illegal miners, creating an employment-look-alike opportunity for several unemployed individuals in the country, not everyone benefits from this activity. Truth is, the people who suffer the consequence of this galamsey exceed the ones that benefit by millions.

No wonder the greater lots in the country (including the government) are putting in every effort they could to halt or significantly minimise the rate of galamsey in this country. Mining in itself, when done through the right procedures (with permission from the need authority) is luxurious and less threatening. No wonder why the legal mining industries are widely supported by everyone.

Did you know that each year, illegal mining strips some 28 billion tons of material from the earth? This is more than what is removed by the natural erosion of all the earth's rivers. Worldwide, mining generates an estimated 2.7 billion tons of processing waste each year. Mining (galamsey) could also cause more damaging deforestation than bad farming practices in certain parts of the country, Ghana.

If it's allowed to continue, Galamsey would destroy the little of what's left in Ghana. When the government puts in an effort to fight against mining, it entails investing millions of 'Ghana Cedis' which could have been invested into other projects to hasten the development of the country. Whiles our eyes are fixated on the direct effects of Galamsey, the indirect effects turn out to carry a similar weight as the direct effects. Think about it? 

Whiles our eyes are fixated on the direct effects of Galamsey, the indirect effects turn out to carry a similar weight as the direct effects. Think about it? When Galamsey destroys the land, no farming can be carried out; the little that had would've been used to build or improve the hospital is now going to be invested into fighting against galamsey and reclaiming the land; the government will need more loans (which comes with their own terms and conditions), and in essence, unemployment is likely to turn out worse than it is now. You can go on and on... I believe what we all need is Unity; to stand together and drive galamsey out of the country once and for all... Which is very possible.