The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, is imploring the government to include some of its members in the 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 task-force.
He made the comments after a meeting with the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu on Thursday, October 5. Top on the agenda of the meeting was a dialogue on a road-map that will lead to the lifting of the ban on all forms of small-scale mining.
[contextly_sidebar id=”sHEg1g25cQYqGLpGW7nOGHe3rqKQvUgv”]Speaking to the media, Mr. Armah pledged the Association’s 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. ”
Speaking on a task from the Lands Minister for them to prepare a budget for their involvement, Mr. Armah said the budget will be presented within two days.
He added: “it’s something that we have been doing, we have gone through the operations and we know how much it will cost so it’s just a matter of getting it within two or three days. When we go we fund both the local securities there. Normally we go with the district assembly, we have NADMO as part, immigration, and the police and also I think the Fire Service. Anytime we go we are in the company of these groups so if Government wants to fund it I think when we sit we can be able to look at those things but we can give them the budget within three days. It depends on the location and the terrain.
“You know some of the terrain you have to walk about two or three hours before you get in. You need to get an extra hand to carry some of the machines and equipment that they are using so then you need to employ a lot of people to do that. Every terrain and its budget.”
By: Kojo Agyeman/citifmonline.com/Ghana