A team of security men has been deployed to crack down on illegal mining activities on six major rivers which have been heavily attacked by illegal miners.
Security men, working with five speedboats, are currently patrolling the Offin, Pra, Birim, Ankobra and Volta Noire rivers.
They have orders to leave to arrest all people found mining in the bodies of water and clear the rivers of any mining equipment.
The Director General (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi, who made this known at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said security agencies would continuously patrol these rivers to ensure that galamsey operators were flushed out.
“The illegal miners operate at night. When the security agencies take them away, they come back after two weeks or a month. As a permanent solution to this, the security agencies have been provided with speedboats to patrol the yards of water all day and all -night,” he said.
He pointed out that unlike the previous strategy which saw the military storming the bodies of water to flush out illegal miners and return to their base, “this time they will stay there permanently to protect the bodies of water”.
The press briefing followed a video that went viral on social media regarding illegal mining activities in the River Offin.
In the video, someone is heard saying that people are illegally mining the River Offin and polluting the water.
Mining equipment believed to have been used by the illegal miners was visible on the river bank.
Responding to the video, Mr Ayisi said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission had launched rapid investigations to establish the facts of the matter so that action could be taken quickly.
He warned that ruthless action would be taken against anyone found complicit in suspected illegal mining activities on the River Offin.
The CEO called on members of the public to rally around the government to help weed out any miscreants who were still neck-deep in galamsey despite the many interventions that had been deployed to curb the threat.
“Galamsey affects us all as citizens, so tackling it should be a fight for everyone and not just the regulator,” he stressed.
While commending the media for exposing illegal mining activities, Mr. Ayisi said more needed to be done to get the nation out of the woods.
“We encourage everyone, especially the media, to support us by making available any information about illegal mining activities, such as circulating video, and these leads will be handled with diligence and integrity,” he said. declared.
He stressed that the commission remains steadfast in its commitment to enforce mining laws and regulations to help clean up the small-scale mining sector.
Referring to what had been done to stem the threat, Mr. Ayisi said that over the past two years, the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission, had introduced several measures to deal with galamsey.
He recalled some of the measures, including the introduction of “Operation Halt II”, engagement with relevant stakeholders, revamping of the Community Mining Program (CMS), geological survey of areas designated for identify mineralized areas to be allocated to small-scale miners, as well as the distribution of 100 pieces of mercury-free equipment to ensure responsible mining.
Again, he said, more District Mining Committees (DMCs) have been inaugurated to monitor and oversee small-scale mining operations.
“Members of these DMCs undergo capacity building programs so that they can help eliminate illegal mining and promote responsible small-scale mining,” he said.
Mr. Ayisi added that it was with the aim of effectively combating illegal mining in water bodies that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, had recently ordered five speedboats to help the Ghanaian Navy to patrol Ankobra, Pra, Offin, Birim. and Black Volta.