Government has with immediate effect dissolved “Operation Vanguard” which was dedicated to the fight against illegal gold mining menace.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, reiterated this at the “Meet the Press” at the Ministry of Information on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
The Minister stressed that no task force has been sanctioned to go after or harass illegal miners.
He, however, pledged the government’s commitment to resolving the menace, stressing no person or mining machinery is permitted along areas that have been earmarked as “red zones” and a 100-meter boundary.
The “red zones” and 100-meter boundary are areas where no person is allowed to undertake a mining activity, Hon. Jinapor explained.
”We’ve also observed that some [should I say] rogue imposters are taking advantage of the atmosphere and the quest for enforcement [to go about] to go around the country harrassing small-scale entities, people who are in involved in small-scale mining. I want to clarify that what the Military are engaged is being codenamed or dubbed ‘Operation Halt 2’ and the Minister for Defence has been very clear about it…that relates to only the red zones, water bodies, forest reserves.
”In case of water bodies, 100 meters away from the banks of any water body in our country. Forest reserves, we are clear about them. So, that is the current ongoing operation. The Military are not involved in any other operation. If there’s going to be any other operation outside the ‘Operation Halt 2’, that will be sanctioned by the official authorities, either by myself or Minister for Defence or National Security or whoever or the government establishment.”
He made it ”very clear that taskforces which are moving about the country harrassing small-scale miners, whether they’re involved in legal or illegal mining, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has not mandated the operation of any taskforces. I believe that’s very clear…The activities and operations of ‘Operation Vanguard’ have been suspended for the time being. Operation Vanguard is no more in operation as we speak”.
The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, speaking at the event, also accentuated that any person caught mining within the 100-meter radius will be dealt with and their machines (excavators) burned down.
Over 200 police personnel deployed
Over 200 police officers have been deployed to various mining sites across the country to enforce the recently announced directives on artisanal mining as well as ward off illegal miners.
The deployment comes on the back of a similar deployment of officers from the Ghana Armed Forces.
Speaking at an event to dispatch the officers, Deputy Minister-designate for Mines and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker urged them not to allow themselves to be compromised with financial inducements as this will ruin the good intentions of the government.