The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Friday chaired a meeting of the Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Illegal Mining to review various strategies and measures to clamp down on illegal small-scale mining.
The meeting observed that despite the recalcitrance of some of the cartels involved in the illegal mining enterprise, lots of strides had been made.
It commended the goodwill of some people who gave information on illegal mining activities to aid the fight against the menace, but said those persons later turned around to circulate old videos of such activities on social media to court public disaffection.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Unit of the Lands Ministry, copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday, said after extensive review of the operations, the stakeholders agreed that the river bodies and forest reserves should continue to be red zones.
No mining operation should be permitted in or around any river body in the country, while reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration activities continued to be banned in forest reserves, except in exceptional circumstances, it said.
Operation Halt II would ramp up its support to the various measures being implemented to clamp down on illegal mining.
The statement said enforcement efforts would be pursued relentlessly without regard to any political, social, or economic standing of the persons involved.
“This will be done transparently and with the highest standards of integrity, candour and utmost good faith.”
It said any equipment used in connection with illegal mining, otherwise known as ‘galamsey,’ or any product derived from illegal mining operations, would be seized and handed over to the police, in accordance with section 99 (8) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended.
The statement said but for any reason that a particular equipment could not be moved from its location, it would be demobilised and/or decommissioned to prevent it from being used for illegal operations.
“The Ghana Police Service will work closely with Operation Halt II to gather relevant information to aid in the prosecution of people involved in illegal mining.”
It said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission would intensify education on the dire consequences of illegal mining on the lives and livelihoods of current and future generations as well as the environment.
It noted that the Committee would meet regularly to review the measures being implemented and adopt additional ones where necessary.
The Ministry, therefore, called on the public, particularly the media, chiefs and people of the host communities to assist the Government and the security services to fight the menace and safeguard the natural environment for posterity.