Minerals Commission Unleashes ‘Commandos’
Government, through the Minerals Commission and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has deployed a team of Naval personnel to permanently patrol RiversOffin and Ankobrah to crack the whip on recalcitrant individuals who may trespass to engage in illegal mining activities, popularly called “galamsey” on the water bodies.
The move, follows earlier operations carried out by the anti-illegal mining taskforce code-named, ‘Operation Halt II’, to ensure that the miners do not return to work on the rivers.
According to officials, the deployment is also in line with the promise made by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to ensure that the water bodies are protected at all time.
“The security agencies will deal ruthlessly with persons found to have engaged in illegal mining menace without fear or favour”, the Ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is also urging persons interested in undertaking small-scale mining should contact the appropriate office of the Minerals Commission, for assistance to be allocated places designated for small-scale mining, in order to be assisted with mercury-free machines.
The deployment of the officers follows the decision by the Minerals Commission and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to step up protection of the waterbodies following the recent viral videos of galamsey activities on the Offin River.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Sunday, August 14, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission, Martin Ayisi, indicated that as part of government’s permanent solution to fight against illegal mining, Ministry of Lands and the Commission will collaborate with the Security agencies to patrol all river bodies.
According to him, with the help of the recently commissioned speedboats, rivers, such as Pra, Ankobrah, Offin, Birim and Black Volta would be guarded strictly as way of preventing illegal miners from returning to mine in the water bodies.
He mentioned that, the fight against the menace requires concerted efforts and, everyone needs to get involved to volunteer information on any form of illegal mining activity, across the country, to enable the Commission together with security agencies, to act swiftly on it.
Mr. Ayisiassured the public that, the patrol will not only focus on the main water-bodies, but also, on tributaries and small streams.