The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has expressed concern about the high number of excavators parked in mining communities.
According to the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, over seven hundred excavators believed to have been moved from mining sites are likely to be taken back to mining sites.
The government in its efforts to fight illegal mining launched the third phase of the new ‘Operation Halt’.
This involves the use of the military to destroy all mining equipment at illegal mining sites and also apprehend illegal miners.
In his address to some personnel during his visit to some illegal mining sites, the Chief of Defence Staff noted that the illegal miners now mine at night under the protection of heavily armed men.
He however indicated that his personnel will adjust their operations to apprehend the miners.
“What is disturbing is that the excavators that have been taken from the mining sites are packed in towns, villages and by roadsides in clusters of 10 to 20, and there is a very high tendency that these excavators will find their way back to the galamsey sites during the night when our operations halt.”
The GAF has said its officers, deployed to curb illegal mining on water bodies and in forest reserves, will not hesitate to destroy all equipment found at illegal mining sites.
It said visits by military personnel tasked to stop illegal mining activities, had shown that “there were still some illegal mining activities going on in some of the areas that had hitherto been cleared by Operation Halt II”.
“These illegal activities were mostly being done in the night or under the cover of darkness protected by armed guards, as used cartridges were found at the sites. The Operation Halt II patrol that accompanies the team was ordered to destroy logistics found in these areas,” the statement added.
‘We’ll come after you’
Recently, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, warned illegal miners working at night that they do so at their own risk.
He noted that, during the different phases of ‘Operation Halt’, some miners were found to be carrying out their activities at night.
At a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday, Dominic Nitiwul said the military has been equipped to deal with such recalcitrant miners.
“We know that they do that from 9:00pm to 4:00am. That’s how brave they are. We know, and we know the towns they are doing it in, so we will come after you. Don’t try it,” Mr. Nitiwul warned.
“So if you go out there to mine, I cannot guarantee your safety when the soldiers are going to apprehend you. So I will advise you to not go out. It is not worth it.”