A Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister-designate, Benito Owusu-Bio, says he’s ready and committed to fully support the substantive Minister to deliver on the government’s intent to end the illegal mining menace.
He said the Minister can count on his utmost support and that of many Ghanaians in that regard.
He gave the assurance when he appeared before the Appointment Committee on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo has made it clear that he is against illegal mining, and for that matter, he will help the sector minister in curbing the menace.
Mr. Benito Owusu- Bio also stated that the fight against illegal mining is a serious one that cannot be toyed with.
“President Akufo-Addo has made it clear that he is against illegal and irresponsible mining, and I know he will do everything to end it. So we are going to help the Lands Minister to end the menace. And I won’t mince words; we won’t joke with this at all” he said.
The government has resuscitated its commitment to ending the activities of illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey’ in Ghana.
This has led to the deployment of the military task force dubbed ‘Operation Halt’, to clear out all mining activities within water bodies and the forest zones of the country.
Currently, the operation, which is in its fourth phase has seen 401 military officers deployed to focus on illegal mining activities on River Ankobra in the Western Region.
A statement from the Information Ministry on Thursday, May 27, 2021, said “the Ghana Armed Forces has commenced the fourth phase of Operation Halt II aimed at removing all persons and logistics involved in mining from water bodies.”
“The new phase of the operation focuses on the Ankobra River and its tributaries. The operation is being undertaken by four funded and one man of all ranks”, the release said.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who signed the statement, advised the public to stay away from mining in water bodies to avoid any action by the forces.
The ‘Operation Halt’ taskforce has so far destroyed 49 excavators, 228 changfans, and 87 water pumping machines among other mining equipment.
On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also disclosed that five illegal miners, comprising three Chinese and two Ghanaians, arrested for mining illegally would be prosecuted.