The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has appealed to Ghanaians to rally behind government in the ongoing national fight against illegal mining aimed at safeguarding water bodies.
Speaking during a press briefing to update the nation on the outcome of the second leg of ‘Operation Halt’ by the Military in Accra, Mr Jinapor noted the ongoing exercise would be meaningless if it does not receive the support of majority of citizens.
According to him, President Akufo Addo is determined to ensuring that a lasting solution is found to the illegal mining menace.
The Minister commended the Ghana Armed Forces for the commitment exhibited so far in enforcing the laws to protect the nation’s water bodies.
He described the destruction of the seized equipment used for the illegal mining activities by the military as ‘decommissioning and demobilising’ to make them useless for the proscribed act.
Mr Samuel Jinapor who is also the Member of Parliament for Damongo stated that Ghana’s Minerals and Mining regulations categorises water bodies and forest reserves as red zones which are no go areas for mining activities and wondered what heavy equipment such as excavators and chamfers have been doing on water bodies.
According to him, his outfit gave a seven day window of escape to those involved to take away their equipment before the decommission exercise begins but people failed to adhere.
Government he said fully support the Ghana Armed Forces on their patriotic action at demobilising the miming equipment used by the galamsayers.
The sector Minister also stated that the military is not involved in any other function apart from the ‘Operation Halt 2’ to decommission and demobilise illegal miming equipment.
He therefore reminded the public that Operation Vanguard taskforce has been disbanded and all its activities suspended hence any action by any taskforce is illegal.
Addressing the concern of some small scale miners who were affected by the exercise, the Minister expressed worry about the lack of compliance to stated regulations by these small scale miners whose activities have also caused harm to the environment.
These include the non-registration of their equipment with the Minerals Commission stating what specific activity they will be used for and at what location as required by the Minerals and Mining Act, 2016 Act 703. Mr Jinapor noted that the infractions above and the failure of some small scale miners to reclaim the lands they mine and mining in water bodies in breach of the law are all problematic to the fight.