The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has reminded the public that river bodies and forest reserves in the country continue to be ‘red zones,’ in the fight against, illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
“Accordingly, no mining operation is permitted in or around any River Body in the country, and reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration activities continue to be banned in Forest Reserves, except in exceptional circumstances,” the ministry cautioned.
It said it will intensify education on the dire consequences of illegal mining on the lives and livelihoods of current and future generations as well as the environment to aid the fight against the menace.
These initiatives formed part of new resolutions made by the ministry and other stakeholders in the fight against illegal mining, at a meeting to review strategies currently being implemented to clamp down on the menace, in Accra.
The meeting was chaired by Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, and attended by members of the Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Illegal Mining, made up of the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the President in charge of Operations, the two Deputy Ministers of Lands and Natural Resources, a Deputy Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, among others.
Announcing the measures, a statement issued by the Ministry on September 16, 2022, said Operation Halt II would ramp up its support to the various measures being implemented to clamp down on illegal mining.
It said that enforcement efforts would be pursued relentlessly without regard to any political, social or economic standing of persons involved.
The statement noted that any equipment used in connection with illegal mining, or any product derived from illegal mining operations, would be seized and handed over to the police, in accordance with section 99(8) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), 35 amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995).
“Where for any reason, a particular equipment cannot be moved from its location, the equipment will be demobilised and/or decommissioned to prevent it from being further used for the illegal operations,” it stated.
The Ghana Police Service, the statement said, would work closely with Operation Halt II to gather relevant information to aid in the prosecution of people involved in illegal mining and the confiscation and forfeiture of seized equipment to the State, in accordance with Section 99(9) of Act 703.
It called on the public, particularly chiefs and community members of areas where illegal operations take place, to assist government and the security services in the fight, and to safeguard the natural environment for posterity.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS