Military equipped to clamp down on illegal mining activities at night – Lands Minister

The Ghana Armed Forces has been furnished with night vision equipment to help clamp down on illegal mining activities carried out in the night, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai  Jinapor,  has disclosed.

Although he did not state the exact equipment, he explained that the equipment would support efforts to intensify the fight against illegal activities in the sector.

Speaking in an interview on GTV yesterday, the Minister said considerable gains have been made in the fight against illegal small scale mining over the past few months.   

These gains, Mr Jinapor said, included the institution of the necessary reforms in the regulatory regime for the mining sector.

“Additionally, the enforcement mechanisms, including Operation Halt and the efforts being made by the Regional Security Councils at the forefront of enforcement and the designation of forest reserves and river bodies as red zones are all gains we can talk about,” he added. 

He, however, admitted that there was still more to do to ensure the Ministry realised a satisfactory situation on the fight, adding that it would take about five to 10 years to completely get rid of the illegalities in the sector. 

The Ministry, he said, would be relentless and totally committed while ensuring that all the measures put in place were duly enforced. 

Touching on the discovery of iron ore and other minerals in the country, Mr Jinapor reiterated government’s plan to build an integrated iron industry which would ensure the retention of the full value chain of the minerals. 

The Minister called on Ghanaians to support the upcoming national tree planting exercise dubbed “Green Ghana Day,” saying that about 20 million trees are expected to be planted.

Owing to the robust monitoring team put in place by the Forestry Commission, he noted that 80 per cent of seedlings planted last year survived.

Mr Jinapor said the Ministry has prioritisedthe digitisation of land records at the Lands Commission to ensure prompt land administration.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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