Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has revealed that the Ghana Police Service will work closely with Operation Halt II to gather relevant information to aid in the prosecution of people involved in illegal mining.
According to him, this is part of a new raft of measures intended to help in the fight against illegal mining. He indicated that the new measures will equally ensure that river bodies and forest reserves continue to be Red Zones.
Accordingly, Mr Jinapor explained that no mining operation is permitted in or around any river body in the country, and “reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration activities continue to be banned in Forest Reserves”, except in exceptional circumstances.
Mr Jinapor made this revelation at a meeting with some stakeholders to review the various steps and strategies that have been implemented so far in the fight against the menace.
“The Ghana Police Service will work closely with Operation Halt II to gather relevant information to aid in the prosecution of people involved in illegal mining and the confiscation and forfeiture of seized equipment to the State, in accordance with section 99(9) of Act 703, as amended.”Samuel Abu Jinapor
The Lands minister stated that Operation Halt II will ramp up its support to the various measures being implemented to clamp down on illegal mining. The enforcement efforts, he noted, will be pursued relentlessly without regard to any political, social or economic standing of the persons involved.
“This will be done transparently and with the highest standards of integrity, candour and utmost good faith.”Samuel Abu Jinapor
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Furthermore, he highlighted that equipment used in connection with illegal mining, or any product derived from illegal mining operations, will be seized and handed over to the Police. This, he emphasized, is in accordance with section 99(8) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), 35 amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995).
“Where for any reason, a particular equipment cannot be moved from its location, the equipment will be demobilised and/or decommissioned to prevent it from being further used for the illegal operations.”Samuel Abu Jinapor
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission, Mr Jinapor revealed, shall intensify education on the dire consequences of illegal mining on the lives and livelihoods of current and future generations as well as the environment that supports our existence.
In light of this, he stated that the Committee will meet regularly to review the measures being implemented and adopt additional ones where necessary.
The meeting was attended by members of the Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Illegal Mining made up of the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the President in charge of Operations, the two Deputy Ministers of Lands and Natural Resources, a Deputy Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
Others are; the Chief Executive Officers of the Minerals Commission and the Forestry Commission, the Advisors on Mines and Forestry to the Minister, the Technical Directors for Mining and Forestry and representatives from the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service.