As part of government’s efforts to fight the menace of illegal small scale mining, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, yesterday commissioned five speed boats to improve surveillance on the water bodies.
Commissioning the boats at Beposo in the Western Region, he said the 6.5 metres Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB) would be deployed on Rivers Ankobrah, Prah, Birim and the Black Volta to help rid these water bodies of any form of mining.
The procurement of these speeds boats, Mr Jinapor said, is part of measures being adopted by government to find a lasting solution to illegal mining and the pollution of water bodies.
He mentioned that the boats would be operated by the security services and river guards to be recruited by the Minerals Commission.
According to him, water bodies remain Red Zones for mining, and Operation Halt II will continue to support the other security services and the river guards to protect these water bodies.
Mr Jinapor said the government is not against small scale mining, but committed to promoting an orderly, viable, sustainable and environmentally-sound small-scale mining industry which is anchored on integrity.
He said the string of measures being taken to promote environmentally-sound small scale-mining include the introduction of the mercury-free Gold Katcha and the revamping of the Community Mining Schemes.
He called on all Ghanaians, particularly communities along the river bodies, to be vigilant, and support the fight against illegal mining, by reporting those involved in these activities.
Earlier, the Minister commissioned a weighbridge in Apemanim in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region to help determine the actual volumes of minerals transported from the mines to the port.
Mr. Jinapor noted that weak monitoring system in the haulage of minerals, particularly bauxite and manganese, was causing huge loses to the state, through overloading and inaccurate recording of figures.
He said government had constructed bridges at the mine sites of Ghana Manganese Company and Ghana Bauxite Company, and two additional bridges at Apemanim and Awaso, to track and confirm the actual volumes of manganese and bauxite transported from the mines to the Takoradi Port. This, he said, would help the state get what is due it from the resources.
Mr Jinapor said government’s medium to long term agenda is to add value to these minerals, and build an integrated aluminium and iron and steel industries in the country.