The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, Mr George Mireku Duker, has sounded a stern warning to small-scale illegal miners who operate nocturnally to stop at once.
He said "those who are determined to destroy our heritage, we will come after you and I'm using this medium to sound a stern warning to these recalcitrant to refrain from mining in our river bodies".
The deputy minister said they are aware the illegal miners now operate at night and said the army is reviewing its strategies to fight the new trend.
Mr Duker said this during the minister's press briefing held at the Ministry of Information on Wednesday, 8 December 2021.
Presenting the updates on the fight against galamsey, Mr Duker said 256 equipment have been decommissioned including some chanfans, water pumps and excavators.
He added that 26 suspects have also been arrested and handed over to the police.
Touching on the progress made with the Community Mining Scheme (CMS), the deputy minister said the government, through the ministry, has, so far, opened a total of six CMS in various mining communities in the country.
These six schemes are expected to generate about 10,000 direct jobs and 21,000 indirect jobs.
He employed the opportunity to announce that the 7th CMS will soon be launched in Tepa in the Ashanti Region.
He also announced that there has been an establishment of a Minerals Development Unit at the Agricultural Development Bank (Bank) to ensure that Small Scale Mining operators have access to credit facilities for their operations.
As part of the many initiatives underway for the proper implementation of the Operation Halt II, he said the Ministry has been able to come up with systems such as the Equipment Tracking System, Practical License Verification and Traceability of Gold, all in the efforts to ensure the smooth re-tooling and regularisation of the Small-Scale Mining sector.
On the way forward, the deputy minister said trained officers including river guards have been deployed to various districts to monitor the activities of the miners and also ensure that no one ventures into the red zones.
Mr Duker commended the military for assisting in the fight so far.
He also called on the media and the general public to assist the ministry and the government to take out these recalcitrant galamseyers to salvage the river bodies.
Also present at the briefing were Mr Martin Ayisi, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission; Mr Benjamin Aryee, the Advisor on Mines; Mr Peter Awuah, the Technical Director on Mines and other officials from the Ministry.