In a daring move to combat illegal mining and protect the environment, Ghana’s ‘Operation Halt II’ team made 26 arrests at an illegal mining site known as galamsey in the Wassa Amenfi East District of the Western Region. The suspects, including four individuals from Togo, were caught engaging in various destructive activities such as illegal mining, sand winning, and lumbering. These activities not only violate the government’s ban but also contribute to the devastation of water bodies like River Tano. The operation, led by the Ghana Armed Forces, aims to rid the country’s water bodies of illegal miners and dismantle their operations.
Accompanied by journalists and the ‘Operation Halt II’ personnel, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. George Mireku Duker, conducted an aerial assessment of the operation. The inspection revealed an extensive area ravaged by illegal mining in Wassa Dunkwa. Deep craters resembling three football fields, contaminated water pools, and diverted tributaries demonstrated the scale of destruction caused by the galamseyers. In addition, makeshift houses built along the river banks and felled trees further threatened the region’s ecosystems and farmers’ livelihoods.
During the operation, Mr. Duker ordered the offloading of sand from a tipper truck found in Wassa Dunkwa, condemning the uncontrolled sand winning at illegal mining sites. He confronted the suspects, emphasizing the consequences of their actions on Ghana’s pristine environment and natural resources. Lieutenant Colonel Harrison Dadzie, the Second-in-Command of ‘Operation Halt II,’ questioned the identity of the site’s owner and expressed concern about the presence of four Togolese individuals.
Brigadier General Michael Kwaku Amoah Ayisi, leading the Southern Command, confirmed that 11 offenders have already been prosecuted and imprisoned. These efforts demonstrate Ghana’s commitment to tackling illegal mining and environmental degradation, safeguarding the country’s valuable national assets for future generations.