The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, says measures are being put in place to relaunch Operation Halt.
According to the Deputy Minister, this has become necessary due to the activities of recalcitrant miners who are destroying water bodies and forest reserves despite the ban on all mining activities in forest reserves and water bodies with or without legal authorisation.
Speaking with JoyNews correspondent, Erastus Asare Donkor, he said: “We are still having some recalcitrant people who are really destroying our river bodies – putting chemicals in our river bodies – and they are not stopping anytime soon until we weed them off.
“Very soon, we will be launching another phase. They (Operation Halt) just finished some part of Western Region,” he added.
In his interaction, Mr Duker noted that some individuals who flouted the government’s directive in the Western Region have been arrested.
“As we are in a way creating enabling environment for Ghanaians to have that befitting concessions to mine, we will also ask those who are determined to destroy our river bodies to stop doing that,” he added.
He revealed that the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Program (NAELP) launched by President Akufo-Addo will ensure that waterbodies and forest reserves that have been destroyed are reclaimed.
The NAELP is an initiative seeking to serve as an alternative for illegal miners who lost their source of livelihoods as a result of efforts to sanitise the small-scale mining industry.
It is also intended to mitigate the unavoidable hardships that have arisen as a result of the government’s efforts to clamp down on ‘galamsey’ operators, as well as provide good economic livelihood options to persons who engaged in illegal mining and its associated activities.
In May this year, the Ghana Armed Forces deployed a total of 401 “men of all ranks” for the fourth phase of Operation Halt II.
This was aimed at “removing all persons and logistics involved in mining from water bodies,” according to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
During the 3rd phase of the operation, a total of 49 excavators, 228 Changfans and 87 water pumping machines among other mining equipment were destroyed.
Following the efforts by the Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, and that of ‘Operation Halt’ to clamp down on illegal mining, the ministry in September noted that the Tano River is on the verge of returning to normalcy.