Mr George Mireku Duker, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resource in charge of mining has issued a stern warning to persons involved in illegal mining operations, stressing that the fight against the canker continuous unabated.
At a press briefing yesterday in Accra, MrDuker disclosed that the Operation Halt II taskforce was still undertaking its charge of protecting the country’s resources. He revealed that the taskforce recently undertook an operation on the Ankobra River and tributaries where they captured some suspected illegal miners.
The Deputy Minister stated that 26 suspects were arrested with over 265 illegal mining items decommissioned. Among the persons apprehended included a motorbike rider who was in possession of over 22 mobile phones.
Mr Duker explained that the suspects had been handed over to the police at Prestea and Wassa to assist in investigation and processed for court.
“The National Security Council and the Ministry tasked the Ghana Army to tackle illegal mining within the Western Region. Southern Command was tasked to conduct follow-on preparations to clear recalcitrant illegal miners within the western region.
“The aim of the operation is to halt the return of illegal mining in major river bodies and its tributaries and to maintain the momentum of the Ghana Armed Forces in the fight against these threats.
“A total of 265 assorted illegal mining items which were found within the red zones of 100metres of Ankobra River and its tributaries were destroyed. A total of 26 suspects were arrested. One motorbike and 22 mobile phones for illegal mining were handed over to police at Prestea and Wassa.,” he said.
As part of measures to provide livelihood opportunities for the hitherto illegal miners, Mr Mireku said that government has embarked on a community mining scheme to create jobs and sustain mining in communities with the resource.
He said that government had adopted a multifaceted approach in dealing with the menace with includes the promotion safe and environment-friendly mining activities.
He mentioned that the community mining scheme which was a substitute for the illegal mining would create jobs and ensure the protection of resources.
“The battle of the galamsey canker is not only to see to the removal of these illegal miners from the river bodies but also create a platform to contain those who will be moved out of the river bodies. We’ve initiated and continued create Community Mining Scheme to hold on to those who will move out of the river bodies to be cushioned”, he said
According to the Deputy Minister,the community mining scheme was intended to provide livelihood to members, promote sustainable and responsible mining and thereby prevent illegal mining
SOURCE: Nii Otu Dadeban Ankrah
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