General News of Friday, 6 October 2017
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, has defended government’s decision to purchase drones worth $3 million to boost the country’s fight against illegal mining.
According to him, the drones, when acquired, can also help the country monitor and deal with the incidents of illegal logging in the country’s forest reserves.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Amewu said the plan to use drones is part of the government’s grand strategy to effectively clamp down on illegal miners whose activities have devastated the country’s land and water resources. “These are quite complex, high-level specification drones that we want to apply,” he said.
Mr. Peter Amewu first announced the government’s plans to procure the monitoring devices in March 2017, but received some backlash from the public over the $3 million cost.
But Mr. Amewu said the specification of the drone merits the cost. He told Richard Dela Sky that the drones had special features that would greatly boost the anti-galamsey efforts.
“These drones are non-visible when they are up in the air. They are sound-free and they can zoom down to about five meters even at a height of about 3, 000 kilometres. It can go to as far as about 27, 000 feet above sea level. It can do a lot of things and it’s very complex,” he said.
“We want to do things properly. We are looking at alternative ways of financing the two sets we’re getting. The batteries can last for about 14 hours. We can use it for a variety of projects, like the protection of our forests,” he added.
Mining ban may be extended by 3-months – Amewu
Meanwhile, Peter Amewu has said that the government may extend the current ban on small-scale mining by at least 3 months.
He said although there have been some positive gains from the ban currently in force, it is unsatisfactory.