The nationwide campaign against illegal mining activities has yielded dividends as heavy equipment used in the operation move from mining sites.

The movement of the excavators and other heavy equipment follows the expiration of government’s three-week ultimatum to illegal miners to do so or have these equipment confiscated.

The Minerals Commission has revealed that more than 500 excavators have been removed from mining sites notorious for illegal mining activities as at Wednesday, April 20, 2017.

“From our checks, 544 excavators have moved voluntarily away from wherever they were, and we think that they were being used for illegal mining,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Tony Aubynn.

Wednesday marked the end of a 21-day ultimatum issued for the illegal small scale miners to vacate mining sites dotted across parts of Ashanti, Western and Eastern region.

The ultimatum was issued as part of government’s support for a media campaign launched to end the indiscriminate mining activities (galamsey) which have polluted water bodies and destroyed vegetation and arable lands.

The Minerals Commission CEO said the Commission’s district officers have played a key role in monitoring the movement of the heavy equipment and gave the assurance that they will continue to do so even though progress is being made.

Most of the excavators, he said, have moved onto the roadside while others have been parked in homes.

“It is not for us to arrest them [excavators] for now because the machines have been brought from the operations, they are not doing anything.  If they will be packed there and not do illegal mining, nobody will do anything to them. If you go to Obuasi, Dunkwa, you will see a lot of them packed by the streets,” he told Accra-based Citi FM.

Meanwhile, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, says the illegal small scale miners who seem to have abandoned mining sites following the clampdown on them will not be allowed to return.

He has promised that to keep a sustained vigilance on the sites that have become notorious for galamsey activities.