The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission in collaboration with the various Security agencies will initiate patrols of rivers Pra, Ankobrah, Offin, Brim and Black Volta with speed boats as a way of preventing illegal miners from returning to mine in the water bodies as a permanent solution to the fight against illegal mining, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Martin Ayisi, has disclosed.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, August 4, 2022 in response to a video circulating on social media about an alleged illegal mining activity on the Offin River Mr said the move is government’s resolve towards curbing the menace.
He assured the general public that the patrol would not only focus on the main waterbodies but also on the tributaries and the small streams, stressing that the matter is being investigated and swift and ruthless action will be taken to deal with it and any other such illegal activities. “Our resolve is resolute and total and we will not give up this fight.”
According to him, within the last two years, Government, through the ministry and the Commission, has introduced several measures to deal with illegal mining, popularly referred to as “galamsey”.
Some of these includes the introduction of Operation Halt II, engagement with relevant stakeholders, revamping of the Community Mining Scheme, geological investigation of designated areas to identify mineralized regions to be allocated to small-scale miners, the distribution of one hundred (100) mercury-free equipment to ensure responsible mining and the inauguration of District Mining Committees to monitor and supervise small scale operations.
He added that intelligence gathering has also been enhanced on all fronts to ensure that the fight is properly fought and won.
Mr. Ayisi reiterated that a tracking regulation has been passed with a tracking control room to be functional in September, adding that he believes in addition to these permanent patrols, the tracking will help together with drones connected to their control systems and these will hoist over the rivers for a frequent report to the Commission.
He called on all stakeholders including the media and the general public to join hands with government in a collective effort against illegal mining saying “Let’s all get onboard, get us the information, report what you see and hear and help us to help you.”
The Minerals Commission CEO assured of his outfits commitment to sanitize the small-scale mining sector whiles sensitizing the public with more educational campaigns.