President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commended the military-police joint taskforce, Operation Vanguard, set up to combat galamsey activities in the country.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, the President indicated that though the battle has not been lost in the fight against galamsey the group will intensely continue with its work despite the challenges.
“Operation Vanguard has largely been successful even though problems still remain. Mining with impunity on water bodies and in forest reserve has declined. More than 4,000 miners have received training in sustainable mining. The number of individuals dying in collapsed mining tunnels and pits in the few authorised locations left has been reduced by more than 90 percent,” he said.
“Operation Vanguard has particularly been effective in helping to restore the order which permitted the reopening of the famous Obuasi Mine of Anglogold Ashanti. The community mining program has been well received by the population,” he added
The President also appealed to the media coalition not to be intimidated by the many challenges, adding that the government will not weaken its stance on the fight against galamsey.
“I am appealing to the media coalition not to be daunted by the difficulties in the fight against galamsey. Government will not weaken its stance and welcomes the continued support of the media coalition. The inter-ministerial committee against illegal mining has been working hard and has come out many successes,” he said.
He cited some of the successes chalked in the fight against galamsey stating that “under the auspices of the Committee, the Ministry of Local government and Rural Development has formulated and implemented the alternative livelihood program in 35 severely galamsey affected districts across the country.”
“Also, last year, 500 youth engaged in illegal mining were trained and graduated in vocational and technical skills from community development and technical institutions.”
Operations of the anti-galamsey task force
The anti-galamsey task force was deployed to three regions; Ashanti, Western and Eastern to help fight and sustain the campaign against illegal mining.
Their operations have resulted in the arrest of illegal miners including foreign nationals, mainly Chinese.
The deployment of the joint police and military task-force came as a major boost to government’s fight against illegal mining in the country, following news of its devastating effects on the country’s land and water resources.