Seven illegal miners were arrested yesterday at Oseikrom in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region, for engaging in improper mining activities, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’.
A joint security task force, led by Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, which conducted a monitoring exercise leading to the arrest, also decommissioned 19 changfans and other illegal mining equipment at the mining site.
The exercise was to enable the Deputy Minister to familiarise himself with activities of Operation Halt II, which was deployed earlier this year, to curb ‘galamsey.’
Mr Duker cautioned that the fight against illegal mining was in full swing and that the seven suspects would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
The minister noted that some miners died engaging in similar activities in the area some time ago, and authorities cautioned the people to stop the illegal activities.
Mr Duker lamented the hard-heartedness of illegal miners and chided them for breaking the country’s laws with impunity.
The actions of the illegal miners, he said, was of concern to every Ghanaian in the face of continuous degradation and contamination of forest reserves and water bodies.
Mr Duker reiterated government’s commitment to crackdown on illegal mining to ensure the preservation of the country’s green vegetation and water bodies, and appealed to the public to support the government in the fight.
“It is very worrying that Ghanaians are drinking from diverted water that has been polluted by mercury. Farmers are also complaining that their farms are being destroyed”.
“The Pra River has been diverted and polluted and I believe it is time for all Ghanaians to come on board to help fight it. We cannot fight it alone. All hands must be on deck to fight illegal mining,” the Deputy Minister stated.
He commended the Operation Halt II for the gains chalked in flushing out ‘galamseyers’ from the forest reserve.
Mr Duker said some officials of the ministry and its agencies were on tour of the Eastern Region to have first-hand information of the operations of the ‘anti-galamsey’ taskforce.