The Ghana Armed Forces have destroyed excavators, changfans, and other heavy equipment used for illegal mining activities in some regions.
Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister for Defence, who disclosed this at a press briefing said the destruction forms part of the government’s effort at ending illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey.
The equipment and excavators were seized in Twifo Praso and River Pra, according to the Minister.
“At the end of the day, within the specified period, the Armed Forces destroyed 28 excavators and 267 changfan machines.”
He indicated that some illegal miners had gone into hiding with their machines upon hearing about the operations by the military to stop galamsey.
“Heavy mining equipment being used for illegal mining activities on the water and along river bodies have been withdrawn upon hearing about military presence. Most of the locals do not know about the dangers associated with illegal mining.”
Galamsey has, over the past few years, dominated national conversations following a major campaign by Citi FM highlighting the devastating effects of the practice.
In 2017, Nana Akufo-Addo declared that he was prepared to put his presidency on the line in the fight against galamsey.
His declaration was amidst new measures such as the deployment of police and military personnel to arrest illegal miners across the country and the introduction of a community mining programme aimed at regulating small-scale mining in communities in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Recently, there have been complaints that the water bodies that were regaining their natural state at the height of the fight against galamsey are becoming polluted again due to the increasing activities of illegal miners in various parts of the country.
President Akufo-Addo again made public statements on the development, saying that there is a need for an open discussion on the subject.
The government, through the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources, subsequently held a two-day National Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining that, among other things, urged the government to firmly enforce the country’s laws on mining.
As a result of that dialogue, the Lands Minister directed all persons prospecting or carrying out reconnaissance activities in forest reserves to cease within seven days.
The move is said to be one of many to be rolled out as part of efforts to deal with illegal small-scale mining in Ghana.