President Nana Akufo Addo assented to the anti-galamsey law Tuesday.
In the new law, persons found guilty of engaging in illegal mining will now get a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 25 years jail sentence.
The decision to peg a prison term for offenders, according to the President is to strengthen the prosecution process.
Addressing members of the Council of State, Akufo-Addo said “we had to take away some of the discretionary of the judges…because they are not cooperating with these matters.”
“People are caught they take them to court and they are granted bail and then they disappear,” he stated, adding that the passage of the law and its assent “is another important step taken in the fight against galamsey.”
Ban on small scale mining
Following the widespread devastation of water resources and forest reserves as a result of the activities of illegal mining, the government, in January 2017 placed a ban on small scale mining for a period of six months.
The ban was, however, extended until December 2018 when the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining made some strides in its fight.
Since then the government launched a policy document which serves as a guide to train previous illegal small scale miners to mine the right way.
“We want to ask people to come into a better space…those doing small-scale mining without concession and licensing have the opportunity to get into community mining and get a license,” Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told JoyNews.
The joint military and police team tagged Operation Vanguard which was launched to fight illegal mining have constantly faced armed attacks from the miners.
The team has also complained that the punishment given to culprits is too lenient.
The handling of one high profiled culprit, Chinese national, Aisha Huang has also come under the spotlight.
Huang, otherwise called galamsey queen was deported amid controversies that the government chose to allow her to go home instead of prosecuting her for some good fortune from the Chinese government.
The government has however disputed those claims.