The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, yesterday commissioned a centre at the Minerals Commission to monitor and track earth-moving and mining equipment, including excavators and vehicles used in the transportation of explosives.
The Centre, which was built by the Minerals Commission in partnership with the George Paa Grant University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), will provide real time information on the movement and activities of excavators and explosive vehicles.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Minister said the establishment of the centre was part of measures adopted by government to combat the illegal mining menace.
He observed that excavators are among the main machinery used in illegal mining, with its attendant consequences on lands, forests and water bodies.
In 2020, Government promulgated the Minerals and Mining (Minerals Operation – Tracking of Earthmoving and Mining Equipment) Regulations, 2020 (L.I. 2404), to provide for the registration and tracking of earthmoving and mining equipment used in mineral operations.
To give effect to this law, the Lands Minister on October 24, 2022 directed all owners and operators of excavators to register them with the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies where these excavators are located.
The Minister commended the Minerals Commission for its hard work in getting the centre established. He, however, charged the Commission to expedite action on the registration and installation of tracking devices to ensure effective monitoring.
Mr. Jinapor reaffirmed government’s commitment to the fight against illegal mining through law enforcement and reformation.
Reiterating the significance of law enforcement, he noted that reformative measures had proven to be the best means of dealing with illegalities in the extractive sector.
He cited some of the reformative measures adopted by Government as the revamping of the Community Mining Schemes and the introduction of the mercury-free gold processing equipment known as Gold Katcha.
The Lands Minister called on all stakeholders to partner with Government to clamp down on illegal mining.
The Minerals Commission explained that excavators will be installed with trackers, and will be assigned to specific concessions.
According to the Commission, the system has been designed to ensure that any excavator that moves outside its concession area will automatically go off.
In addition to excavators used for mining, vehicles used in the transportation of the explosives will also be installed with trackers for the Minerals Commission to monitor their movement, including their speed, and the activities of drivers.
This follows a recommendation by the Committee on Health and Safety which was established by the Minister after the Apeate incident, in which a vehicle carrying explosives exploded and destroyed the community. The Committee recommended that vehicles carrying explosives should be tracked to monitor their movements and activities.