Earth moving machines will henceforth operate with permits in the country, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu has said.
He told Citi News in an interview that, excavators found scavenging for gold without permit will be destroyed.
“What we want to do is that, if you own an excavator, and for some reason you want that excavator to go and work at a place, that excavator must have a working permit. So you have a permit for your concession, but the excavator that is going to work there must also have a permit. So in the attempt to get that excavator a permit, that is when we are going to put in that tracking device. So that if they go and use the excavator for working somewhere else which is not a demarcated area to work, then the owner of the excavator will be treated differently from the concession owner.”
“And so if you own an excavator, and you will allow it to be confiscated and destroyed, that will be your own responsibility,” Mr. Amewu added.
A three-week ultimatum the Minister gave illegal miners to halt their operations ended on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
According to the Minister, his outfit has put in place adequate measures to ensure that illegal mining also known as galamsey is halted.
“We’ve realized that the concession owners are different from owners of the excavators. Some of the people who own these excavators rent them at a price of GHc2, 500 excluding fuel. So by the end of the day they [galamseyers] could be spending quite close to GHc3, 000 or GHc4, 000. So these guys are not poor people, they are rich people to pay such amount of money,” he added.
544 excavators moved from galamsey sites
About 544 excavators are said to have been moved out of their hideouts at separate illegal mining sites, following the expiration of the ultimatum.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Tony Aubynn, the excavators have been packed in the homes of their owners, and on the streets in some areas of the country including Dunkwa and Obuasi.
He also said the recalcitrant illegal miners who ignore the ultimatum will have themselves to blame.
“From our checks, 544 excavators have moved voluntarily away from wherever they were, and we think that they were being used for illegal mining. That is our suspicion. But now, they have moved from wherever nook and cranny they were onto the road side, some have packed them in their homes. So it is not for us to arrest them for now, because the machines have been brought from the operations, they are not doing anything. If they will be packed there and not do illegal mining, nobody will do anything to them. If you go to Obuasi, Dunkwa, you will see a lot of them packed by the streets. So it’s about all of a sudden moving from hideouts to places where they are not doing anything,” he added.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey