A team led by Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, destroyed at least 800 changfans and other equipment for illegal mining, on River Offin in the Western Region, yesterday.
The operation followed reports of illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey” on River Offin.
The Deputy Minister was accompanied by military officers, undertaking “Operation Halt II”, aimed at clamping down on the menace in mining communities as well as the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi
According to Mr Duker, the operation to decommission the equipment was to reinforce government’s uncompromising stance against illegal mining.
He reiterated that “government would not take its feet off the pedal until the canker of galamsey is nipped in the bud.”
Mr Duker cautioned persons and groups involved in illegal mining, to stop the practice or face prosecution when caught.
The Deputy Minister assured that all water bodies in the country, would be given permanent protection by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces, to deter illegal miners from operating in river bodies.
“Since Sunday, they have been patrolling Offin and Ankobra rivers just to ensure they arrest these recalcitrant persons who have been destroying our water bodies. It is very unfortunate that out of greed, people are destroying the heritage and future of this country, MrDuker said.
“It is sad that people are mining in a river body without any shred of responsibility of being a Ghanaian. I want to commend the military for all the work they’ve done. So far they have burnt over 900 equipment and it shows the incredible work they’ve done,” he said.
Mr Duker urged Ghanaians to be wary of the dangers of illegal mining, and assist the government deal with the canker, by reporting all of forms of illegal mining to the relevant authorities.
He stated that new measures announced by the Minerals Commission, which details the permanent patrolling of water bodies by the Operation Halt III team will help the government eradicate illegal mining.
Despite the complexities associated with the fight against the menace, the Deputy Minister said, government was determined to overcome all hurdles to protect the country’s waterbodies from pollution.
The Commander of the Operation Halt II Taskforce, Brigadier AmoahAyisi, said the team commenced operation on Sunday, resulting in the confiscation of some machinery and equipment used for illegal mining.
At a press conference on August 14, he stated that five speed boats, manned by personnel from the Ghana Navy, have been deployed on major rivers, including Pra, Birim and Offin, to protect them from illegal mining.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS