A total of 16 Chinese nationals allegedly engaged in illegal mining in the Krobo Forest in the Ashanti Region, have been arrested in what is said to be the biggest single arrest since the ban on illegal mining was imposed.
A cache of sophisticated arms and ammunition were also seized from the suspected foreign galamseyers and their local accomplices by a team under the government’s Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining led by WO1 Odei Nyarko.
They have since December 6 been handed over to the Obuasi Police together with some Ghanaian accomplices who were arrested.
The list of items retrieved were given as 14 pump action guns, one M16 gun, about 200 cartridges, 5 cutlasses, about 30 excavators, 2 Caterpillars and a 45,000 cedis cash.
Ban on illegal mining
Large scale pollution of the country’s water bodies, farmlands and environmental degradation arising out of illegal mining forced the government in 2017 to ban the business which had been booming across the country.
The ban, government explained, was to help protect water bodies and other natural resources that had been polluted and affected by activities of illegal miners.
A joint police and military force was also formed under the codename Operation Vanguard, and deployed to some mining areas to monitor and arrest those engaged in the illegal practice.
Hundreds of people have been arrested since by the taskforce some of who have been prosecuted.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was also constituted to oversee activities of small scale miners and ensure that their activities were well executed.
By 3news.com| Ghana