Members of Operation Vanguard at an illegal mining site

The activities of any taskforce including Operation Vanguard and other taskforces in the fight against illegal mining known as galamsey have been suspended.

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Abu Jinapor, said any group harassing small scales miners will face the full rigours of the law.

Samuel Abu Jinapor
Samuel Abu Jinapor

He made the comment at a press conference to give update on phase two of Operation Halt to protect Ghana’s water bodies by the military.

This follows reports of harassment by some military people in some legal concessions across the country.

Some small-scale miners, whose excavators have been burnt, have given government a week ultimatum to respond to their concerns.

Failure to respond, the group said it will embark on massive demonstration to drum home their concerns.

But Mr Jinapor appealed for calm insisting that, the operations of the military in Operation Halt is strictly on water bodies and forest reserves.

“The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has not mandated the operation of any taskforces. Activities of Operation Vanguard have been suspended, all other taskforces remain disbanded,” he stressed.

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister has assured small-scale miners of government’s support so long as they follow due process.

“Government is not against small-scale mining; we are working to regulate, sanitise and promote a viable, sustainable small-scale mining which has regard for the preservation of the environment in our country,” he stressed.

He said anyone found culpable in the galamsey business, irrespective of political party will be delt with.

“We are not going to waiver; the water bodies and forest reserves will be protected,” he added.