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General News of Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Security agencies will flush out galamsey operators – Lands Minister

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the government will deploy law enforcement officers across the country to apprehend defiant galamsey operators.

John Peter Amewu told Joy News Wednesday the illegal miners who have defied government’s directive to abandon their activities are engaging in “lawlessness.”

He said the deployment of security men forms part of several actions by the Ministry to clamp down on activities of illegal miners that are destroying the country's water bodies.

Wednesday marks the end of the Ministry's 21-day ultimatum to galamsey operators to end their activities or be prosecuted if they are arrested. Deputy Lands Minister, Benito Owusu-Bio told Joy News Tuesday the anti-galamsey campaign which begun in February has started yielding results after some 75 excavators were turned in by some of the miners.

The apparent success comes at a time there is mounting pressure on government to save the remaining water bodies and forest reserves from the illegal miners.

There are reports that Ghana's neighbours are also bearing the brunt of the galamsey activities. Science and Technology Minister, Professor Frimpong Boateng had said he was approached by some Ivorian officials when he attended a conference in the country.

The Minister said the Ivorian officials took advantage of his presence in their country to hold a press conference to register their displeasure about galamsey in Ghana.

But the anti-galamsey campaign is leading to a diplomatic row between Ghana and Chinese government who believes the campaign was an attack on its nationals.

A letter from the Chinese community in Ghana has cautioned government to curtail bad reports about its nationals in the media over the galamsey issue. A Ghanaian businessman who spoke to Joy News on a condition of anonymity said they are being victimised by Chinese Customs officials because of the anti-galamsey campaign.

But Mr Peter Amewu said government will carry through with the fight to end galamsey in Ghana by using the new drafted Multilateral Mining Agreement policy.

He said they are compiling a list of illegal miners who have complied with government's directive so that they would be helped to secure contracts on some prospected lands.

"As a Ministry, we are not against Ghanaians mining, but we will accept those who will mine in an environmentally sustainable manner," he said.