General News of Monday, 9 October 2017
The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners is imploring the government to include them its anti-illegal mining task force, Operation Vanguard.
The General Secretary of the Association, Godwin Armah explained that their members know the schemes of illegal miners and where they operate, hence their involvement will be of great benefit to the taskforce.
He made the comments after a meeting with the Lands Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu on Thursday, October 5, 2017. Top on the agenda of the meeting was a dialogue on a roadmap that will lead to the lifting of the ban on all forms of small-scale mining.
Speaking to the media, Mr. Armah pledged the associations support to government’s fight against illegal mining adding that they will in three days present a plan and budget to the lands minister.
He said: “the miners are very familiar with their terrain and can, therefore, fish out the illegal miner. We will automatically kick them out as we’ve been doing but our absence now is giving them that leeway to be working. Note that Operation Vanguard is not working in the night; they are always working during the daytime because of security reasons and also there are remote areas that these guys are operating. We know these areas very well known and can, therefore, apprehend them and hand them over to the Operation Vanguard.
Mr. Armah added that: “Operation Vanguard team rotates the military men, every month. So once you’re able to acquaint yourself with the terrain before you know it, one month is up and you need to be rotated. This is one of the disadvantages. Also, they are visible, once they are coming you see ‘Operation Vanguard’ on their vehicles with their tags. So those dredgers what they do is they allow people to sit by the roadside as informants for them so once they see Vanguard heading towards their direction they call them and before they get there and then before they get there those people would have bolted. This is a huge challenge so it is really making it difficult for Vanguard to operate. We are already on the field so once we identify them; we will quickly call the taskforce to arrest them, or we will arrest them. ”
“We are not saying Vanguard is not doing their work but we need to do a lot to re-strategize and also collaborate with the players so that we can be able to bring the sanity that we want within the industry. We were prepared to support, from day one. We made it clear that illegal mining also affects our operation. If you don’t have clean water to do your recovery you end up losing because you don’t get proper recoveries, so those are the reasons why we will continue to support the government. We will continue to support government till the fight on illegal mining is at its barest minimum.