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Fight against galamsey continues unabated – Minister

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Mustapha Abdul-Hamid – Minister of Information

Mr Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, Wednesday said the fight against illegal mining would continue unabated until all illegalities in the mining sector was regularised and sanity restored in the mining sector of the country.
He said the Government was still working out modalities that would ensure that mining activities were done in the right way before considering lifting the ban on mining.
“So in this fight, there is not going to be a retreat, and there is not going to be a surrender. We are going to win this fight and we are going to win with all the logistics and resources that can be mobilised,” Mr Hamid gave the assurance when he addressed members of the Media Coalition against Galamsey in Accra.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Coalition, Mr Hamid expressed the renewed commitment of the Information Ministry to support the activities of the Media Coalition against galamsey to ensure that the fight against illegal mining was won.
“We are going to continue to be very active partners, we are going to continue to support with everything that we can mobilise, be it money, effort, time, and everything, to ensure that we win this fight,” the Minister noted. 
He, on behalf of his other colleagues on the Inter-ministerial Committee against Galamsey, assured of their commitment to ensure that the menace of illegal mining becomes a thing of the past. 
Mr Ken Ashigbe, Convenor of the Coalition, said it has been 10 months now since the Media took active interest in the fight against galamsey, and that, the meeting was to take stock and outline the way forward to sustaining the campaign until the fight was won.
He said when the campaign intensified and operation Vanguard was set up, it has been able to do a good job in chasing out illegal miners, while there had been improvement in the turbidity level of some water bodies as well.
He announced that Star Ghana had agreed to support the Coalition under a one year programme, aimed at improving water quality and reclamation of mined lands through the reduction of galamsey activities.
Mr Ashigbe said the Coalition would continue with the town hall meetings to engage the people in communities in the Upper East Region this February and in the Upper West Region in April this year, where duty bearers would speak to community members of everybody’s responsibility towards the fight against galamsey.
He urged the media to live their Constitutional mandate and hold the government to account- through the monitoring of the government assurances on sanitising the mining sector.
He also urged journalists to investigate “to unearth the big men and women, who are behind galamsey” so they could be named and shamed, as well as to provide evidence for the state to prosecute such people. 
He called on all media personnel to join the Coalition to resume the Red Friday campaign against galamsey by wearing read cloths every Friday, starting from this February, to alert the nation on the fight against galamsey.
Colonel Michael Amoah Ayisi, National Commander of the Operation Vanguard, said since the security personnel got to the field, significant arrest and flushing out of illegal miners had been achieved, with 1,012 arrests, many of whom were Chinese and other foreigners from Burkina Faso,  Nigeria, Togo, Benin,  India and Niger.
All of the arrested persons were before the law courts while 22 of the foreigners have been convicted, Col Ayisi noted.
He said they had also seized 370 excavators, 910 water pumping machines, 60 vehicles, 54 motor bikes, 3,368 changfans, and 83 weapons, among other items.
He said the challenge of inadequate manpower and logistics had hindered the personnel from stamping their authority in most of the vast mining areas.

Source: GNA

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