The Project Coordinator for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining says that Operation Vanguard has done a “wonderful job” in helping curb illegal mining albeit the struggles.
Speaking on Newsfile, Saturday, Dr Naa Dedei Tagoe, said that numerous steps including the vetting of over 1,300 licenses and the introduction of the Tax Identification Number (TIN), have been taken to ensure that illegal mining is put to an end.
“During the vetting, we made some observations and in our new programs, we are going to improve on them. Miners had nothing like TIN, some names were ‘ghost names’, some mining groups sometimes also used minors but these can be checked with the TIN introduced.”
She added that the TIN, the vetting of licenses and some other things the committee has enforced, has helped create a list to identify ‘galamseyers’ from legal miners.
This, Dr Tagoe said helps Operation Vanguard, the committee, the Minerals Commission and other regulators oust any illegal business in the mining community. The list, she added, is updated weekly.
“So far the government has trained 4,500 miners, yes it is a small number but the idea is to train the trainers. This year another 2,000 would be trained. This is something that would keep on for every vacation at The University of Mines and Technology.”
“This is in terms of President Akufo-Addo’s promise to ensure responsible mining,” Dr Tagoe stated.
Although the team is working, she told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show, that Operation Vanguard is facing some challenges, they would need help to fix.
She revealed that the illegal miners especially foreign ones sometimes build their machines at the site, hence the team is having a tough time seizing them.
“The moment you destroy it, overnight you find another one, the rate at which they build the machines I think is higher than the rate at which they’re destroyed,” she stated.
However, Dr Tagoe believes that regardless of the major improvements, the fight would be naught if the communities do not join in.
According to her, many of these illegal miners begin their structures before the very eyes of the people, who would usually watch and wait till the issue gets out of hand.
“When you’re at one place they move to the next place. Because they (Vanguard) can’t have omnipresence, we as citizens especially those in the local communities, should report them. They see it before the Vanguards.”
Dr Tagoe added that illegal mining is a fight that needs to be sustained adding that “the people on the ground need to know that we are serious about it.”