At least 15 illegal miners have been arrested in Western Region by the anti-galamsey taskforce raising the total number of suspects to more than 100.
Commander of the taskforce Colonel William Agyemang told Joy News the suspects have been sent to the police station pending prosecution.
The suspects were mining in various pits in the Western, Eastern and Ashanti Regions where illegal mining is said to be rampant.
Barely 10 days after the ‘Operation Vanguard’ taskforce was inaugurated, Colonel Agyemang said a lot of strides have been made in the fight against illegal mining popularly called galamsey.
“The operation is going on well. There has been a number of arrests and seizures of mining equipment including excavators,” he said.
According to him, some of the excavators are very sophisticated they can dig pits that could drown storey buildings in 12 hours.
He is confident the task at hand, which is to fight the incidence of galamsey, will be achieved.
Ghana’s mining regions have been destroyed by years of illegal mining activities.
Trees have been cut, farms taken over; rivers polluted, air fouled as the galamsey miners make money from the pollution.
As a result of the indiscriminate mining, Ghana is at risk of importing water because of the rate at which the river bodies are being polluted.
In the last few months, there have been a relentless fight against galamsey backed by a strong political will and a vibrant media dedicated to winning the war against galamsey.
All small scale mining activities have been banned, at least for the time being, making it illegal for persons to be engaged in the act.
It is hoped the taskforce will do a good job at winning the fight.
Already the taskforce has become a subject of criticism following the shooting to death of a suspected miner and the burning of seized excavators.
The taskforce alleged, the deceased in the company of other illegal miners opened fire on them and they returned fire.
Their account has been denied by some of the miners who claimed they were running when they saw the taskforce.
Meanwhile, members of the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Natural Resources are divided on the quality of work being done by the taskforce.
Some members of the committee who are on the majority side of the House are applauding the committee for doing a good job.
Chairman of the committee Francis Manu who was part of the group that visited mining sites in the Western Region said it will take a bit of force to stem the tide of galamsey.
According to him, some of the illegal miners are armed with pomp action guns.
“The task force must continue; it’s a national cancer and we must treat it,” he stated.
However, a member of the committee on the NDC side Kwabena Minta Akando said the approach being used by the taskforce to fight the canker is illegal.
He does not understand why the taskforce will be burning equipment seized at the various mining sites.