The suspects comprised 159 males and five females, mostly foreigners from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Ivory Coast.
The swoop, conducted by the Ghana Armed Forces formed part of the government’s renewed fight against illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as “galamsey”.
Mr George Mireku Duker, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, speaking to journalists when the suspects were brought to Accra for processing and prosecution, commended the taskforce for acting swiftly on the Ministry’s directive to clampdown on both local and foreign nationals involved in illicit mining.
Mr. Duker assured that they would be handed over to the Police and other relevant authorities for processing and prosecution.
“We asked the security agencies to conduct a massive operation to get these foreign nationals who have invaded our environment.
“These are people from neighbouring countries who have invaded mining concessions near river bodies in this country,” Mr Duker noted.
“I want to commend the Ministry for the efforts they have shown to arrest 164 illegal miners.
“They also have people who are providing other services. One of them confessed that she is happy they have been arrested as she was trafficked to Ghana.
“We will hand them over to the appropriate authorities for them to take the necessary actions,” he added.
Mr Duker admonished recalcitrant individuals and groups still engaging in illegal mining business to shun their activities and cautioned that the law would take its full course when arrested.