Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has explained that legal and policy considerations of government support the burning of excavators in the ongoing fight against illegal mining.
He cited several legal authorities and cases as well as Article 36(9) of the 1992 Constitution to justify government’s action with regard to the burning of excavators by the security agencies.
Mr Jinapor said this when he appeared before Parliament to respond to a question by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, on the legal and policy justification on the issue.
He said the Government directed the security services to decommission or demobilise all equipment used for mining in the red zones, which included the forest reserves and water bodies to make them incapable of use for illegalities.
He said the security services then employed their own measures, whether through burning or removal of parts, to ensure that the equipment were demobilised.
Also the equipment being demobilised were mostly found very deep in the forest or on waterbodies, where it was impossible to bring them out without causing further damage to the forest or the waterbody, he said.
In addition to that, the illegal miners mostly removed the control boards from the machines, making them impossible to be moved, Mr Jinapor said.
He indicated that the decommissioning or demobilisation of those equipment was a measure taken by government to protect and safeguard the environment for posterity.
The use of one excavator alone for illegal mining, Mr Jinapor said, could cause the depletion of one hectare of forest cover in a day, which was fast degrading the landscape of forest zones.
“It will take decades of hard work to get back the lost reserves and decontaminate the water bodies,” he said.
“That is why we are acting with urgency, and we simply cannot afford to look away nor relent.”
Addressing the media, later, the Minister said within the few months of implementing those measures, there had been significant improvement, which the country had never achieved in the fight against galamsey since the 1980s.
He called on Ghanaians to support the government in the exercise to protect the environment.