On Friday, 16th September 2022, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, chaired a meeting of the Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Illegal Mining, made up of the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the President in charge of Operations, the two Deputy Ministers at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, a Deputy Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Chief Executive Officers of the Minerals Commission and the Forestry Commission, the Advisors on Mines and Forestry to the Minister, the Technical Directors for Mining and Forestry, and representatives from the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service.
The Meeting reviewed various steps and strategies that are being implemented to clamp down on illegal mining, particularly in Forest Reserves and River Bodies. It was observed that despite the recalcitrance of some of the cartels involved in this illegal enterprise, lots of strides have been made.
It was, also, observed that, despite the goodwill of some people who give information about illegal mining to aid the fight, there are also those who have taken to circulating old videos to court public disaffection towards the fight against illegal mining.
After an extensive review of the operations so far, it was agreed as follows:
- River Bodies and Forest Reserves continue to be Red Zones. Accordingly, no mining operation is permitted in or around any River Body in the country, and reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration activities continue to be banned in Forest Reserves, except in exceptional circumstances.
- Operation Halt II will ramp up its support to the various measures being implemented to clamp down on illegal mining.
- The enforcement efforts will be pursued relentlessly without regard to any political, social or economic standing of the persons involved. This will be done transparently and with the highest standards of integrity, candour and utmost good faith.
- Any equipment used in connection with illegal mining, or any product derived from illegal mining operations, will be seized and handed over to the Police, in accordance with section 99(8) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995).
- Where for any reason, a particular equipment cannot be moved from its location, the equipment will be demobilised and/or decommissioned to prevent it from being further used for the illegal operations.
- The Ghana Police Service will work closely with Operation Halt II to gather relevant information to aid in the prosecution of people involved in illegal mining and the confiscation and forfeiture of seized equipment to the State, in accordance with section 99(9) of Act 703, as amended.
- The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission shall intensify education on the dire consequences of illegal mining on the lives and livelihoods of current and future generations as well as the environment that supports our existence.
- The Committee will meet regularly to review the measures being implemented and adopt additional ones where necessary.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources calls on the general public, particularly the media, as well as the chiefs and people of the communities where these illegal operations take place, to assist Government and the security services in this fight, and to safeguard our natural environment for posterity.