The Operation Vanguard Western Forward Operating Base (FOB) has arrested eight minors and an adult at galamsey sites in K9 in the Benso general area of the Mpohor District, in the Western Region of Ghana, on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.
The minors (names withheld) with ages between 15 to 17 years together with one Seth Adjei Boahen, 29, were arrested during a dawn operation by personnel of the FOB to clamp down illegal mining activities in the community.
After the arrests, Seth Boahen was sent to the Mpohor District Police Station to assist with investigation whiles the 8 minors were sent to the Social Welfare Department in the District, for further investigations.
The Operation Vanguard team further seized 2 excavators with chassis numbers, 5LROO587 and 5YOO732, 3 control boards and monitor, motorbikes and 9 water pumping machines and handed them over to the Mpohor District Assembly, after which the team further immobilised 3 excavators and immobilised about 45 changfas (machines used in the illegal activity of galamsey).
The Mpohor District Police has commenced investigations towards a quick determination of possible prosecution.
Speaking on the operations of the FOB, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Robison Omane Agyei, said that the state wants to regularise the mining sector and thus, has instituted Operation Vanguard to clamp down on illegal miners, sanitise the environment and the industry’s terrain, before regularisation.
Some small-scale miners (including illegal ones) have put down their tools, however, others are still recalcitrant and Operation Vanguard is coming at those recalcitrant illegal miners.
He bemoaned recent trends where juveniles are getting involved in the illegal practice, “for now the use of minors in their activity is worrying and this is also against the labour laws (Child Labour) laws of the country and internationally.
The minors who engage in illegal mining should note that they just being used for the gain of a few and is better for them to rather seek alternative government jobs or just go into farming rather than illegal illegal mining. We are also adhering to human rights tenants and for now we are not showing images of these minors engage in illegal mining.
He further urged all well meaning Ghanaians to endeavour to volunteer information on illegal mining activities and where they are taking place to help save the future through the environment. This will allow the government to regularise the mining for sustainable mining to the benefit of the Ghanaian economy.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Burma Camp, Accra