Operation Vanguard Arrests 1,339 Illegal Miners

APPROXIMATELY, 1,339 illegal miners have been arrested at different mining sites across the country by the ‘Operation Vanguard’ team since government placed a ban on illegal mining also known as ‘Galamsey’.

The leader of the ‘Operation Vanguard’ team, Ken Amoah Ayisi, who made the disclosure, stated that the total number of people, who have been apprehended so far by his team included 173 Chinese nationals.

He stated that  just 10 per cent of the arrested illegal miners have since been convicted, disclosing that some of the illegal miners have since been bailed by the courts and some of the cases have also been adjourned.

Amoah Ayisi expressed gross concern over what he termed as “the slow nature in the prosecution of the illegal miners nabbed by the ‘Operation Vanguard’ team”. He has called for a change in that regard.

“I am appealing to the appropriate bodies to create a special court in order to help fast-track the prosecution of arrested illegal miners”, he said on UTV.

He bemoaned that the slow pace in the prosecution of illegal mining suspects was not helping the fight against the menace, reiterating the need for the prosecution of illegal miners to be expedited.

He announced that within the time under review, his men seized a total of 1,557 water pumping machines and 5,739 chanfang machines used by the illegal miners. The machines have since been destroyed.

He also stated that 102 guns, including sophisticated guns and ammunitions, have also been seized by his team.

According to him, the team has made significant progress in the fight against illegal mining which has negatively affected water bodies and farmlands, posing a huge threat to the citizenry.

He said despite the positive gains chalked up by the team, some recalcitrant illegal miners were still mining for gold in the Ashanti, Central, Western and Brong Ahafo Regions.

According to him, the illegal miners, mostly Chinese nationals, now mine for gold in the forest and around water bodies at midnight under the cover of darkness and return home around 3 am to wash for gold.

He said the decision by the illegal miners to wash for gold in their homes is dangerous, as the chemicals they use to wash the gold can cause dangerous diseases to people who are exposed to them.