The Centre for Social Impact Studies is admonishing the government to retool and empower the Minerals Commission to effectively stamp out illegal mining.
Its call comes after Citi News reports indicated that the military component of its anti-illegal mining task force, Operation Vanguard, will be withdrawn from the field.
The Executive Director for the Center for Social Impact Studies, Richard Ellimah has been keenly following the operations of the taskforce and he called on the government to empower the Minerals Commission.
“We need a sustainable solution. The emphasis on the minerals commission’s roles will make all the difference. They are technocrats and they know their job. Most of them have been in the business for so long and they have been regulating the mining industry generally so if you go down to the districts, the minerals commission officers there are very competent in handling the issues of galamsey,” he said.
Citi News sources at the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal mining noted that the withdrawal of the soldiers will be in March 2020.
To continue effective monitoring, mining guards and 144 drone pilots have been deployed to monitor the approved miners.
F-grade from former Minerals Commission boss
Dr. Tony Aubynn, the former Minerals Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO), recently described the fight against illegal mining in the last few years has clearly been lost.
According to Dr. Aubynn, the failure of the state was evident when judging the compliance with the law and the state of the water bodies.
“Have water bodies become clean? No. Have people stopped mining without the requisite licenses? No. It has even gone underground,” he remarked in a Citi News’ interview.
It was under him the fight against illegal small scale mining appeared to be at its most serious in recent years.
Under him, the government interdicted nine district mining officers of the Minerals Commission who were asked to proceed on indefinite leave, in May 2017.
About Operation Vanguard
Operation Vanguard started as a Military-Police Joint Task Force set up in 2017 to combat the operations of illegal miners in Ghana.
The government will from March 2020 withdraw the military component of its anti-illegal mining taskforce, Operation Vanguard, from the field.
Citi News sources at the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining suggested that this is because, so far, over 1,000 small scale miners have been vetted and cleared to mine under environmentally friendly laws.
by Ernest Arhinful