The Minister of Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has revealed that government is in the process of procuring drones worth about three million dollars ($3m) to facilitate the ongoing galamsey war in the country.
Peter Amewu made the disclosure during an interview with Citi News. According to the Lands Minister, acquisition of the drones became necessary after they discovered that the use of such machinery is necessary in some parts of the country for an effective clampdown on illegal miners operating in the areas.
“We are in the process of the acquisition of the drones which is costing almost about 3 million dollars. And we have done some exploration activities in some areas that we’ve earmarked such facilities for them,” Mr. Amewu said.
In addition, Mr. Amewu pointed out that the drones will facilitate the efforts of the anti-galamsey task force (Operation Vanguard) in the fight against the menace.
Recall that this is not the first time the Lands and Natural Resources Ministe is giving hints on government’s plans to employ the use of drones to fight illegal mining in some parts of the country.
Mr. Amewu, during a visit to the AngloGold Ashanti Mine (AGA) at Obuasi on Friday, 11th March, 2017, disclosed that plans are being made to start using drones as well as tracking devices in the fight against galamsey.
The Lands Minister had then revealed that a great percentage of earth moving equipment brought into Ghana for road construction purposes are rather used in deep forests to dig into water bodies, hence the need to plant trackers into the machines to help detect operation spots of those using them for illegal mining.
Small Scale Miners to Return to Business
The Lands Minister has once again assured that Ghanaian small scale miners whose operations have been hampered by government’s galamsey war, will be allowed back to their sites soon.
“I’ve had several discussions and engagements with the executives [of the small scale miners]; letting them understand that small scale mining is a preserve of Ghanaians. They would definitely come back and mine under the directive of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo,” Amewu assured.
He however, appealed to the affected small scale miners to exercise patience as government is planning to bring them back to base in a more regulated manner.
“…they should exercise patience. We are putting in measures to ensure that when they come back, they will not come back in the old form.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo since assuming the leadership of Ghana, commenced a determined fight against illegal mining, commonly referred to as galamsey in the country.
The President who vowed never to allow the environment left by our ancestors to be destroyed under his watch, has been putting in place stringent measures to see to the elimination of the environmentally unfriendly business.
Among the various measures is a six-month ban on small scale mining, be it legal or illegal. This according to the government, is meant to allow them restructure small scale mining in such a way that it can be regulated against illegal operators and as well save the environment from abuse.
A great number of small scale miners are however flouting this rule, thereby facing the wrath of the government. To assist in the clampdown of the banned business, government deployed a host of gallant military task force to arrest offending miners.
So far, the military task force has reportedly arrested up to 300 persons comprising both Ghanaians and foreigners. The Lands Ministry which is also playing significant roles in the ongoing galamsey war, has also recorded huge success in the battle, with several degraded lands and water bodies now restored to better conditions.