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01 August 2017

You will be tempted but don’t give in… – Minister

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said any group of persons that would attempt to stampede the joint Military/Police Anti-galamsey Taskforce from performing their mandate would be met with the requisite force.

He said the operation by the special taskforce was to protect the environment from further destruction and to preserve the heritage of the people and the future generation.

He, therefore, urged the taskforce to exhibit high level of professionalism, sound judgement and team work in the course of their duty, adding that the pre-deployment training given them at the Bundase Training Camp was to enhance their efficiency.

He advised any aggrieved mining association or group not to attempt to stampede, obstruct or use any unlawful means to prevent the taskforce from exercising their mandate adding that government’s door was still opened for dialogue.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who is the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Taskforce against Illegal Mining, said this at the launch of the anti-galamsey operation codenamed: “Operation Vanguard.” at Burma Camp on Monday.

He, therefore, urged them to remain focused and, thus, warned that any officer that would allow himself to be compromised would be severely sanctioned, saying; “you are selected to protect lives, properties and the environment and that should be your focus”.

“Some of you will be tempted with money and other valuable things but remember that what is at stake is more than your individual interest,” he added.

He said government had bought new logistics to enhance their operations while arrangements had been made for their medical and other common needs and released funds for some allowances.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the operation was under the Presidential Initiative which started with an ultimatum by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to all illegal miners to stop operations and withdraw their mining equipment from illegal mining sites.

He said it had been actively supported by the Media Coalition against Illegal Mining and other civil society organisations.

The Minister said the ultimate objective of the initiative was to flush out illegal miners from mining sites and catchment areas of water bodies, as well as the restoration of the forest cover and reclamation of the degraded mined areas to ensure sanity.

He said some licensed mining companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghana Armed Forces and, therefore, some armed soldiers had already been deployed to protect their concessions due to various threats and challenges on their concessions.

Four hundred joint Military/Police Anti-galamsey Taskforce were deployed to Eastern, Ashanti and Western regions to enforce the ban on illegal mining, otherwise known as “galamsey” and to protect the environment.

The troops had been divided into three detachments with their respective commanders.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, expressed his unflinching support and commitment to halt the operations of illegal miners and has put his job on the line.

About one million people are involved in the chain of mining activities and other auxiliary services, including foreigners.
The massive exploitation of the environment including the destruction of farmlands and pollution of water bodies prompted the establishment of the taskforce to end the menace of galamsay once and for all.

Some dignitaries that graced the occasion were the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Obed Akwa, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr David Asante-Apeatu, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Information, Mr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resource, Mr John Peter Amewu.

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