A platoon of Naval personnel has been deployed on River Ankobra and River Offin to fight illegal mining activities in the two water bodies.
The team is expected to be stationed on the two rivers to deter the illegal miners from returning to mine in the river beds with the support of the speed boats.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Accra yesterday, said, the security agencies have been tasked to deal ruthlessly with persons found to have engaged in illegal mining in water bodies.
It explained that the deployment of the naval team followed the decision by the Ministry and Minerals Commission to step up protection of the water bodies following the recent viral videos of illegal mining activities in the River Offin.
The statement said the naval team would continue the activities of Operation Halt II, undertaken by the Military to prevent illegal mining on water bodies.
It further advised persons interested in engaging small scale mining to contact the appropriate office of the Minerals Commission for assistance to be allocated places designated for small scale mining and also be assisted with mercury-free machines.
Last week, more than 800 changfans and other equipment for illegal mining were destroyed by a military team led by Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George MirekuDuker on River Offin.
The operation was in response to reports of illegal mining activities, popularly known as “galamsey” on the River Offin in the Western Region.
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 MrDuker, the operation was to decommission the equipment and 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.”
He cautioned persons and groups involved in illegal mining to stop the practice or face prosecution when caught.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS