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General News of Monday, 10 July 2017


Ministry mulls GPS-tracking of excavators in fight against illegal mining

The heavy use of excavators for illegal mining has prompted the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology to consider tagging every excavator in the country to track its usage.

The Minister, Prof. Frimpong Boateng revealed the proposal at a conference in Accra with Chiefs to consider innovative ways of fighting illegal mining. According to the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, more than 60% of earth-moving equipment imported into the country end up deep in the forest.

In April, more than 500 excavators were reportedly removed from illegal mining sites after the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry issued a 3-week ultimatum to illegal miners to leave the sites.

Questions have been raised about how the excavators intended for road construction have become a symbol of illegal mining in Ghana.

There have been reports of excavators levelling cocoa farms to allow illegal miners to rave resource-rich tracts of lands.

It is believed, foreigners finance the importation of the equipment which cost about 2,000 cedis to rent.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said one way to prevent the destructive use of excavators will be to tag the machines and feed data into a GPS.

This will enable the Ministry to track in an instant, the use and location of the earth-moving equipment.

"…through our system we will see that this machine is officially doing construction and not mining' he explained.

Peter Amewu at one time suggested that impounded excavators ought to be blown up the same way cocaine and illicit drugs are destroyed by the Food and Drugs Authority.