Environment Minister Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng has revealed that over 20,000 galamsey miners have moved from galamsey mining into practising community mining.

According to him, the number has increased as a result of the introduction of government’s Operation Vanguard aimed at reducing illegal mining in the country.

“Initially we vetted 1,350 small scale mining concessions and I have a list with me here of 462 small scale miners that have been vetted and they are working legally.

“These are the small scale miners who were vetted two years ago and they are in the field working,” he said.

The Akufo-Addo led government introduced the community mining concept to assist persons who previously mined illegally, to do so legitimately.

At a press briefing Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said about 4500 miners have so far been trained while some 3500 have already been accredited. 

“For those who want to remain in mining but do it legally, government has introduced the community mining concept through which former illegal small scale miners are properly registered, trained, given concessions to jointly work on and properly tracked to ensure they mine responsibly,” he revealed. 

Although some Civil Society Organisations have questioned how feasible such a programme is, government said it is making strides.

Prof Boateng stated that the operation has been a success despite some challenges.

He explained that those who practised galamsey were people who had no monies to buy concessions and that according to him has been resolved with the introduction of the community mining program.

“If we had not embarked on such journey, we would have had a lot of problems with our water bodies, our forests, soil and with our farmlands,” he said.

He added that government, however, is committed to ensuring that galamsey is totally eradicated in the country.

He assured that government will reinforce the community mining program in order to aid “young people who have no monies to buy concessions work and earn their own monies.”