Government says all equipment seized from illegal mining sites as part of the revamped efforts to root out illegal mining will be destroyed.

The approach differs from the previous efforts where the machines of persons engaged in illegal mining were seized.

President Akufo-Addo on April 28 authorized the Ghana Armed Forces to deploy 200 soldiers to go after all persons involved in illegal mining popularly known as galamsey. The operation commenced on the same day on River Pra in the Central and Western regions of Ghana.

A release from the Information Ministry stated that the move is to ensure that mining within water bodies is immediately stopped. This latest action comes after the Stakeholder Dialogue on Small Scale Mining on April 14.

Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul speaking at a press briefing convened by the information ministry Friday, said no equipment confiscated will be taken home.

“The issue of why destroy equipment, the law already outlaws mining within the river bodies and  100 meters to each of the banks of the river. If you do activity there, it’s an illegal activity.”

He went on to add that “the President has directed that we clean up the river bodies and as I said, we are not taking any equipment home. We are not seizing any equipment. No equipment will be returned home.”

“It’s not like before where we seize equipment, they will all be destroyed on-site. It’s as simple as that. Nothing will come home. Everything will be destroyed at the site,” he stressed.

Mr. Nitiwul touched on assertions that the military beat up people, saying “I did not say that galamsey areas, we are going to go around destroying and beating up people. No, that is not what I said. I said that when the military sweeps past a place, for example, as they are currently sweeping past river Pra and doing the operations and cleaning up, there will be constant monitoring of what they have done by the Ghana Airforce with assault people on board.”

“And so, don’t think it’s a three-day or nine-day wonder. They have been given instructions to take action on anybody who goes back, that’s all that it has to do,” he added.

Source: Ghana/