Govt resolves to arrest, prosecute illegal miners

The government has given strong indication to arrest and prosecute persons operating illegally in the small-scale mining sector to protect the country’s natural resources.

Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku-Duker, said all necessary efforts would be directed at sanitising the mining sector.

Reacting to the conviction of four persons by the Tarkwa circuit court on November 5 for unlawfully dealing in gold and money laundering in Accra yesterday, he cautioned all persons involved in illegal mining activities, especially in water bodies and forest reserves against the practice.

“Those involved in gold smuggling and other related activities should also take note. Government will not relent in its efforts at ensuring sanity within our mining space,” he stated.

The two Chinese nationals,  Chen Hung and Chen Zhili, were found liable to pay a fine of 120,000 penalty units (GH₵ 1,440,000) each or in default serve 15 years each in prison.

Stephen Arthur and Prince Denis Aidoo, the two Ghanaians were, also, fined 100,000 and 120,000 penalty units (GH₵1,200,000 and GH₵1,440,000) respectively, or in default serve prison terms of 10 years and 15 years, respectively.

The conviction by the court and the severity of the penalties imposed, MrDuker said, were clear evidence of the government’s resolve to fight illegalities in the mining sector.

He noted that the Act 995, passed in 2019, imposed stiffer penalties to serve as deterrentto illegal mining, adding that government launched “Operation Halt II” to clamp down on illegal miners. 

Additionally, the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme, which features the Community Mining Scheme, provide a credible, responsible and sustainable alternative to illegal mining, the Deputy Minister stated.

He said the interventions were expected discourage illegalities in the mining sector and provide many business and livelihood options for interested individuals to venture into. 

“Let me assure you that as a Ministry, we will not relent in our efforts at dealing with all forms of illegalities in the mining sector and also ensuring that mining is done in a more sustainable manner.

They range between 10,000 to 250,000 penalty units and/ or 15 – 25 years in prison. I will therefore, strongly urge those involved to stop and desist from the act,” Mr Duker added.


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