The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry as part of its renewed effort to fight the destructive illegal mining and formalise the small-scale mining sector will in the next six months introduce three high-speed Diamond DA-42 aircraft for surveillance.
A Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resource, George Mireku Duker who is the Chairman of the recently established Joint Committee during an inspection of the aircraft at the Takoradi Airforce Base said this would be in collaboration with the Ghana Airforce and the Ghana Chamber of Mines who are expected to pay for the retrofitting of the aircraft at a cost of €700,000 before they are deployed.
“These are specialised aircraft for surveillance and recognisance, and we believe our regularisation effort could help in getting things done, especially getting the galamsey menace controlled. That is why my government is collaborating with private partners like the Chamber of Mines. They have come together on this one, and we anticipate that they will take up the cost and use it to monitor their activities and also help in checking the galamsey”, he said.
George Mireku Duker, after inspecting the aircraft said the sustainability of the government’s current flagship policy of gold for oil policy would heavily depend on a formalised small-scale mining sector, hence the Lands Ministry will keep up the fight till the sector is formalised.
“As I speak, government has embarked upon a gold for oil policy and if we are going to be vigorous about that journey, then we must have a regularized industry… I believe the President is so determined in fighting the galamsey canker on ours and fortunately for us, due to the collaboration the Ministry has with the Chamber of Mines, we have come together to restore these special aircraft to assist in fighting the galamsey,” he added.
He also explained what informed government to take the cost-effective route of undertaking repair works instead of purchasing new equipment which will serve the same purpose.
“This is an effort we are making to clamp down on recalcitrant persons who are still determined to destroy our industry. We want to streamline and regulate activities in the mining sector… We believe that it is cost-effective compared to procuring drones and other equipment. Though drones may have their efficiencies, this could be in the air for hours without being noticed and collect evidence that can be used in a court of law“, he noted.
The Diamond DA-42 aircraft were procured and delivered in 2011 to the Ghana Airforce originally for offshore surveillance but has over the period developed faults with the communication and surveillance software.
George Mireku Duker mentioned that the work on the aircraft is expected to last six months.
“The servicing works on the aircraft will see the replacement of crashes, hard drives, outdated software and engines among others”, he assured.
A briefing on the state of the Diamond aircraft were led by W02 Hoggar Charles, an Aircraft Technician of the Ghana Airforce.