A total of 999 illegal miners have so far been arrested by the joint military/police taskforce (Operation Vanguard), assigned the job of tackling illegal mining, to save the environment.
Squadron Leader Robison Omane-Agyei, Public Relations Officer of the Taskforce, said 170 excavators had also been seized and another 196 immobilized at illegal mining sites, over the six months of its operation.
Additionally, 82 small arms with 1,370 cartridges had been captured and 3,002 chang-fa machines (floating platforms) destroyed.
He announced this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at their Forward Operation Base in the gold mining town of Obuasi.
Squadron Leader Omane-Agyei said good progress was being made and pledged to sustain the momentum.
They were determined to do everything to safeguard the environment – protect the forests and rivers, including Bia, Ankobra, Pra, Offin and Birim.
Such had been the pollution of the Bia River, which flows from Ghana to Cote d’ Ivoire through illegal mining activities, for example, that in March, last year, an Ivorian newspaper carried a news item highlighting the negative impact this was having on water supply in the neighboring country.
Squadron Leader Omane-Agyei said the same could, however, not be said today and that things had radically changed for the better.
He called for the people to give strong support to the Taskforce by supplying them with useful information for the arrest of those, who had chosen to remain recalcitrant – defy the ban on illegal activity and refusing to quit.
He added that it was in everybody’s interest that the environment was sustainably managed.