Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, says Government is fully committed to fighting against illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey.”
He said despite the numerous challenges hindering the fight against illegal small-scale mining, the government would fight relentlessly to bring sanity to the small-scale mining industry.
The Minister was speaking at Datano in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region when he led a team from the ministries of Information and Lands to visit the Operation Halt II team in the area.
He said the purpose of the visit was to encourage the military and assure them of government’s support for the operations.
Mr Jinapor expressed satisfaction with the work done so far by the military task force, led by the General Officer Commanding the Central Command, Brigadier General Joseph Aphour.
Mr Jinapor told the media that the military had been able to clear the site of illegal miners, demolished their infrastructure, and brought their operations to a halt.
He added that the team arrested some illegal miners and seized excavators and other mining equipment, which were handed over to the Police.
The Minister said the operation was aimed at exposing the complexities involved in the illegal mining business.
He expressed surprise that the activities of illegal miners could elude the security apparatus within the district, the traditional and local authorities, and mine inspectors in charge of the area.
“All of you can see the level of devastation, it should baffle all of us as citizens, policy-makers and as stakeholders in this fight, how an operation like this in the heart of the forest and in the far away areas of our country can go on without notice by the police, the Chiefs, local political leadership and even the inspectorate division of the Minerals Commission here, and these are questions as Minister intend to seek answers to,” Mr Jinapor said.
He reminded Ghanaians that the fight against galamsey was a collective one, which required the co-operation of all citizens, particularly the members of the local communities.
Brigadier General Joseph Aphour who led the team, said six excavators were ceased, while three were destroyed.
He thanked the Minister for the visit and expressed optimism that with the support from the government and the citizens, they could come to grips with the menace.
The Minister later held a meeting with Regional Ministers and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives from mining endemic areas across the country.
He charged them to take up the responsibility of leading the fight against illegal mining in their various jurisdictions.
“The fight can only be won if local leaders rally behind the central government”, adding “the Regional and District Security Councils, headed by the Regional Ministers and the MMDCEs, should enforce the law in their various jurisdictions,” Mr Jinapor stated.