The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Martin Ayisi, has declared that as the government’s permanent solution to the fight against illegal mining, the Ministry and the Commission in collaboration with the various Security agencies will patrol rivers Pra, Ankobrah, Offin, Brim and Black Volta with the recently commissioned speed boats, as a way of preventing illegal miners from returning to mine in the water bodies.
The CEO made this declaration when the Commission organized a press conference following a video circulating on social media about an alleged illegal mining activity on the Offin River.
In his statement, he assured the general public that the patrol will 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 for any reason give up this fight”.
He noted that within the last two years, Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Commission, has introduced several measures to deal with illegal mining, popularly referred to as “galamsey”.
He outlined some of these measures mentioning the introduction of Operation Halt II, engagement with relevant stakeholders, revamping of the Community Mining Scheme, geological investigation of designated areas to identify mineralized areas 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 asserted that as part of all these enforcement mechanisms, 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 the frequent report to the Commission.
He stressed forcefully, calling out on the media and the general public that the fight against illegal mining should be a collective effort of all citizens “Let’s all get onboard, get us the information, report what you see and hear and help us to help you.”
The CEO assured the Ghanaian public of its unflinching commitment to the fight to sanitize the small-scale mining sector and also sensitize the public with more educational information.
Story by:Kwaku Stephen