The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has revealed that twenty (20) locally manufactured mining equipment, known as ‘chanfangs’, have been confiscated and destroyed on the Black Volta River in line with illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
This follows after the Ministry, Minerals Commission, the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council and the Ghana Armed Forces had embarked on an intelligence-gathering operation to ascertain nitty-gritties of recent media reports of illegal mining activities on the Black Volta.
Updating the media on the latest development at the Ministry, Mr Abu Jinapor stressed the need for all and sundry to protect the Black Volta River and all water bodies in Ghana.
He said: “I’m happy to report that following the reports the Ministry received, we are working closely with the Minerals Commission, the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council and the 6th Battalion of Infantry, 6Bn) in collaboration with the Military command of the Savannah Region were able to carry out an intelligence-gathering operation to ascertain the true facts on the ground”.
The Lands Minister disclosed that series of operations had been undertaken, saying “the reports I’ve received is that 20 changfans have been destroyed”. According to him, there is a well-thought through operational plan put in place to ensure that there are no recurrence of these illegal mining activities on the Black Volta River.
He also bemoaned that ‘chanfangs’, often improvised and rudimentary machines used for illegal mining, had long been a cause of concern for the country despite the ban on it. He noted that their crude operation can lead to severe environmental degradation, including deforestation, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
Emphasising that the Black Volta River, is a vital water source for the country, the Minister expressed his determination to protect the Black Volta River and other essential water bodies from the detrimental impacts of illegal mining activities.
He assured the public that he would take pre-emptive and proactive measures to safeguard the country’s natural resources at all cost. The Minister cautioned that the destruction of these 20 ‘chanfangs’ on the Black Volta River should send a strong message to those engaging in illegal mining activities.
Mr Jinapor reiterated that government will not tolerate the exploitation of the country’s precious natural resources for short-term gains since the preservation of the environment is crucial for the well-being of current and future generations.
The Minister highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts to address the issue comprehensively. “This is not a battle the government can fight alone. We need the support and cooperation of every citizen to put an end to illegal mining and protect our environment,” he stressed.
He emphasised the importance of taking such drastic measures, saying “these are largely to important bodies which are not invaded by small scale illegal mining operators and activities. Therefore, if we take pre-emptive and proactive measures to protect that enclave, it’ll be good for our country,” he reiterated.
The Lands Minister also gave the assurance that the Lands Ministry, Minerals Commission are working around the clock to support the Savannah Regional Security & Coordinating Council to be on top of this particular issue to preserve the Black Volta.
However, as to the number of persons arrested he said he readily does not have the reports but assured that the Ministry will take all measures necessary to safeguard water bodies of the country.
The Minister reminded the public of the two main fundamental pillars of which the Ministry is pursuing its agenda of curbing small scale illegal mining. He mentioned the enforcement pillar and reformative pillar, and stressed the need to sustain the modules to win the fight against illegal mining.