The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor has reaffirmed the government’s unwavering commitment to the fight against illegal small-scale mining. He warned that any individual engaged in or funding illegal small-scale mining would face the full rigours of the law. The Minister, who was briefing the press in Accra on Thursday on the renewed efforts in the military operations, also known as Operation Halt II, said the government would prosecute all persons engaged in this menace. “Under the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995, the punishment for foreigners engaged in illegal mining is 20 years imprisonment, plus a fine of not less than 1.2 million Ghana Cedis, plus deportation after serving the sentence.And for Ghanaians, the minimum punishment is 15 years imprisonment and a fine ofGHC120,000.00,” he stated.The Minister indicated that Operation Halt II would continue to support measures put in place to ensure that river bodies and forests are rid of illegal miners such as the continuous declaration of river bodies as red zones for mining, suspensions of reconnaissance and prospecting activities in Forest Reserves and the procurement of speed boats to patrol the riverbodies.Mr Abu Jinapor said he joined the Attorney-General in court for the prosecution of four Chinese nationals involved in illegal mining, including Aisha Huang.“The Office of the Attorney-General is working to ensure expeditious trial in these matters and if found culpable, they will be made to face the full rigours of the law,” he stated.According to the Minister, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, met with theNational House of Chiefs and urged them to rally behind the government in this fight.“This is because, every galamsey site, falls within the jurisdiction of traditional authority. And if the traditional authorities stand with us and we can come to grips with this matter.“The President also met with MMDCEs and has charged them to ensure that they rid their jurisdiction of illegal small-scale mining,” he added.He disclosed that the government has rolled out advertisements on television and radio, to educate the general public about the dire consequences of illegal mining.“So that people like the 62-year-old man who sold his cocoa farm to galamseyers for GHC30,000.00 will appreciate the consequences of their actions on the nation and future generations,” he emphasized.
Source: Patience Anaadem, ISD, Contributor
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