Gov’t bans production of ‘galamsey changfangs’
The government has, with immediate effect, banned the local production of changfangs, the floating boats used by illegal miners to wash gold ores during their galamsey operations, destroying river bodies in the country in turn.
The move forms part of a broader mechanism deployed by the government, aimed at to clampdown on galamsey.
Accordingly, producers of the machines have been warned that should they flout the orders of the government, they would be “arrested and prosecuted in accordance with law.”
He emphasised that the government would crackdown on all persons or group engaged in the production of changfang motors to aid illegal mining activities on rivers bodies.
The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, said this when he inaugurated a 40-member Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) taskforce in Kumasi on Friday, August 20.
The Deputy Minister indicated the taskforce was to immediately work to curb illegal mining on rivers, including the Ankobra, where several changfang machines have already been destroyed by the Military taskforce.
In addition to the GNASSM would be a Regional taskforce to support the current operations, to curtail all illegal mining activities in rivers bodies.
The Deputy Minister said the Minerals Commission was making available five speed boat (multi-purpose vessels) to compliment the efforts of the taskforce.
He therefore charged the team to devote themselves to the task ahead, and cautioned them against using the opportunity given them to support the government’s fight against galamsey to extort money from the public.
With the National Security, Military, Navy and the National small-scale miners engaged in a joint operation to tackle mining on the Ankobra, Mr Duker, said he was sure of a successful outcome saying, “you know the rudiments already. Help us to clean up the small scale mining sector.”
He emphasised that government would intensify its initiatives for fighting illegal mining to bring to curb the menace in the small scale mining sector.
On his part, the Vice President of the GNASSM, Sampson Kofi Wiredu commended government for the bold steps so far in curbing and controlling illegal mining.
He assured that the taskforce would work to support the government to win the galamsey fight.
He charged members of the taskforce to work to justify their involvement and said, “if the country sees your good works, it will reward you.”
He, however, pleaded with the Ministry to speed up its support to the taskforce for smooth operations going forward.
Present at the inaugural ceremony were the other Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, Acting CEO of Minerals Commission, Mr Martin Ayisi and the President of the Ghana National Small-Scale Miners Association, Mr Philip Akufo.
Operation Vanguard Destroys 59 Changfang Motors
The Western Regional Operation Vanguard 17 Task Force, which assumed operations on March 12, 2021 destroyed 59 changfang machines that were being used on river the Tano and Bonsa rivers in the Western Region.
The Force, commanded by Superintendent of Police William Kwofie Jabialu, destroyed the machines, as part of their mandate to curb illegal mining activities and water pollution in the region.
The activities of these floating boats on the rivers among others are the main cause of the poor water turbidity.
In May, this year, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) cautioned galamseyers against their practices, saying, they would not be lenient to any culpable for operating within restricted areas.
Equipment and gadgets seized from these operators would be set on fire at the site without hesitation.
This is in accordance with anti-galamseyers’ new approach of burning excavators and other equipment found at illegal mining sites.
“Any equipment found in and around water bodies and forest reserves would be destroyed,” Director of Public Relations at the GAF, Colonel Aggrey-Quarshie said.
It follows a high-powered military team led by the Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral S Amoama, which undertook a confirmatory reconnaissance to some locations where Operation Halt II has so far operated.