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General News of Saturday, 22 May 2021

Source: peacefmonline.com

Galamsey: Military not deployed to inspect license of mining companies - Defence Minister

Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul

The Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has stated emphatically that the military officers tasked to fight galamesy have not been deployed to inspect the license of the mining companies but to ensure the protection of water bodies that are being destroyed by illegal mining activities.

According to him, the target of the military is to stop illegalities and ensure the protection of the water bodies, but not to check the license that has been issued to mining companies to mine legitimately.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, 19th May 2021, Dominic Nitiwul revealed that the observation of the team in “Operation Halt II” was that the large scale mining companies with genuine licenses were rather engaging in illegal mining in the Eastern Region; hence, the target of the military was such illegal activities regardless their legitimate license.

He added that most of the illegal miners in the Eastern Region use the excavators to mine on the river and the outrides of the river bodies; thus, in the process divert the course of the river to make it dry so that they can mine inside.

He maintained that the illegal miners in the Eastern Region carry out their illegal activities with impunity as they do not withdraw their mining equipment into hideouts and nearby communities even upon hearing the military presence unlike the situation in the Central and Ashanti Regions.

“It is a big problem in the Eastern Region. Unlike the Central and the Ashanti, the illegal miners in the Eastern Region do not withdraw their mining equipment into hideouts and nearby communities upon hearing the military presence. I don’t know what they thought but it could mean that they were carrying out illegal activities with impunity,” he lamented.

“ . . the big companies in Eastern Region are those who were doing the wrong thing because they said they have the license, but what they do not know is that we are not touching the licenses, it is the illegality we are touching,” he revealed.

"Our target was the illegality, our target was protecting the water bodies and not their licenses. You can have the license but if you are destroying the river bodies, the soldiers were supposed to make sure that they take out the equipment you are using. The soldiers were not out to inspect the license of mining companies. The order of the soldiers is to ensure that anybody polluting the river bodies, their equipment is destroyed,” he pointed out.

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