The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said that the government has escrowed sufficient funding so far to support the fight in Ghana against illegal small-scale mining (known as “galamsey”).
The minister said the move is to make sure that the current operation involving the military – Operation Halt – is sustainable.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Thursday (12 October 2022), Jinapor said: “We just want to make sure this is sustainable and so, the issues of funding, logistics, finance and the rest do not arise.
“On the instructions of the president, we have escrowed sufficient funding to support this operation – which will mean that as they [the military] have moved, we will not back down or will not have to stop at some stage because of funding or logistics.
“This was part of the planning. So, the money is escrowed and the logistics have all been provided for, so that the soldiers can do their work with ease.”
He added, “Other characteristics of this operation [Operation Halt], are that it is going to be sustainable and it’s going to be relentless. It’s not going to [be] ‘three months, we are out’ or ‘six months, we break’. It’s going to go on until we get to a satisfactory situation with respect to illegal small-scale mining.”
Dealing with excavators
The minister said, “We’ve begun the operation in all the three sectors of our country: the Central Command, the Northern Command and the Southern Command. They have so far arrested 11 excavators. The instruction they have is that they use their military judgement in dealing with excavators.
“So that, if it becomes necessary for the excavators to be decommissioned, the excavators will be decommissioned. And if it becomes necessary for the excavators to be moved to a police station for safekeeping they’ll do so.
”Those decisions will not be made by politicians; the soldiers who are the professionals on the field will make those determinations on a case-by-case basis.”
Abu Jinapor also said the government has provided the military high command with the list of licensed small-scale mining firms across the country.
This will help the armed forces to carry out the operation with ease, he said.
“We have provided the military high command with a comprehensive list of all licensed small-scale mining operations across the country. And therefore, as the soldiers are on the field … they are able to tell whether or not an operation is lawful or not,” Jinapor said.