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June 24th, 2021
By: Norvisi Mawunyegah
The Small Scale Miners Association says its members have packed out their equipment to avoid harassment by military personnel under ‘Operation Halt’ exercise. concerns raised about government’s approach in fighting galamsey, claims the destruction of mining equipment has affected some of its members who are licensed to operate.
The National President of the Association, Kwadwo Peprah, stressed the ‘Operation Halt’ may affect innocent legal miners, for which reason they have decided to pack out temporarily.
“As a matter of fact, all small scale miners have packed out because per the order of the Minister, he said the military has been given the mandate to clear all persons mining in forest reserves and people working on the various water bodies. As we speak, there is no technocrat among the military to ascertain whether you have your license or not. In order not to fall victim to whatever is happening, we have decided to pack out and see whatever action we can take.”
The government has already justified the burning of seized excavators used for illegal mining in some parts of the country, despite growing concerns about the approach.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, stated illegal mining would be aborted no matter what.
“They are demobilizing the excavators and making them incapable of being used for the illegality they are involved in. What will an excavator be doing on River Prva or River Offin? The destruction you have seen [only means that] extraordinary times require extraordinary measures,” the Minister said
Government has also explained that it is not going after mining licenses, but rather going after the illegality being perpetuated by both licensed and unlicensed miners.