The fight against illegal mining popularly called, galamsey, assumed a national character, when in unison, Ghanaians, decided that, enough of the pollution of water bodies and degradation of the forest reserve.
Since assuming office, President Akufo-Addo, has made the fight against galamsey a major mantra of his administration.
The president during his tour of the Upper West region in October last year, during a meeting with religious leaders said, “I am prepared to do what I think right to safeguard our environment. So it is not a choice that frightens me at all”.
At a press briefing last Friday, the Chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng said, “Having successfully implemented the strategies outlined in the road-map, the ban on small-scale mining is being lifted on Monday 17th December 2018 for miners who have gone through vetting successfully within the regularized and reformed framework”.
The government in June 2017, imposed a six-month ban on small-scale mining as part of efforts to end illegal mining and its related activities, which adversely affected the environment, particularly water bodies and forest reserves.
The ban was followed with the formation of Operation Vanguard, which comprised of Military and Police Joint Task Force to combat the operation of galamsey in the country.
After more than one year of the ban and the subsequent formation of Operation Vanguard, have we achieved the results we set out to?
In the beginning it looked like we are winning the fight, like many initiatives in the past, we all became fatigued and it looks like we are giving up again.
According to a Joy FM report last week Thursday, some illegal miners attacked members of the Inter-Ministerial task force and small-scale miners after three Chinese foreigners they were working with, were arrested.
These Chinese nationals were caught mining just at the outskirts of Manso Aponapon of the Amansie South District in the Ashanti Region on Thursday, December 13.
The situation is too rampant to the extent that, every week some illegal miners will be arrested. There have developed the attitude of the more we arrest them, the more they dare us.
Major Maxwell Mahama, died as a result of the activities of illegal miners, but as the ban is lifted today, can we say, he did not die in vain?
Unconfirmed report this newspaper received, indicates that, members of the Operation Vanguard, have also been compromised, and as a result, they stay away from certain areas or give information to the miners that, they are coming, so they could leave the site.
In the considered opinion of this newspaper, Operation Vanguard, although has achieved some relative success, it was a waste of scarce resource.