The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission have procured five speed boats to help in the fight against illegal mining on water bodies.

The 6.5 metres Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB) will be deployed on rivers Ankobrah, Prah, Birim and the Black Volta to rid these water bodies of any form of mining.

This came to light when the Sector Minister, Samuel Jinapor, commissioned these boats at Beposo in the Western Region.

The procurement of these speeds boats is part of measures being adopted by government to find a lasting solution to illegal mining and the pollution of water bodies.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'
Lands Minister, Samuel Jinapor

Speaking at the commissioning on Tuesday, July 26, the Minister said the boats will be operated by the security services of the country and river guards to be recruited by the Minerals Commission.

He said water bodies remain red zones for mining and Operation Halt II will continue to support the other security services and the river guards to protect these water bodies.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'
Lands Minister and other government officials in one of the speed boats

Mr Jinapor said government is not against small scale mining but is committed to promoting an orderly, viable, sustainable and environmentally-sound small scale mining industry which is anchored on integrity.

He mentioned some of the measures being taken to promote environmentally-sound small scale mining following the introduction of the mercury-free gold katcha and the revamping of the Community Mining Schemes.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'
The Minister addressing the media

“The government of President Akufo-Addo is not against small scale mining. What we are against is any form of mining that pays no regard to the environment, that is done contrary to law and the established protocols, that threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of our citizens and we will not hesitate in cracking the whip on those who engage in such illegalities,” he said.

The Damongo Member of Parliament (MP) called on all Ghanaians and, particularly, communities along the river bodies to be vigilant and support the fight against illegal mining by reporting those involves in these activities.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'
The commissioning of the boats took place on Tuesday, July 26

Earlier on, the Minister commissioned a weighbridge in Apemanim in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region.

The weighbridge is to help determine the actual volumes of minerals transported from the mines to the port.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'
Tarkwa-Nsuaem MP, Goerge Mireku Duker, and Lands Minister greeting traditional leaders

Speaking at the event, Mr Jinapor noted that weak monitoring system in the haulage of minerals, particularly bauxite and manganese, is causing huge loses to the state, through overloading and inaccurate recording of figures.

He said government has constructed bridges at the mine sites of Ghana Manganese Company and Ghana Bauxite Company, and two additional bridges at Apemanim and Awaso, to track and confirm the actual volumes of manganese and bauxite transported from the mines to the Takoradi Port.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'
Lands Minister [left] and George Mireku Duker

This, he noted, will help the state get what is due it from the resources.

Government’s medium to long term agenda is to add value to these minerals and build an integrated aluminium and iron and steel industries in the country.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'

While government is working towards this ambitious goal, it was important to ensure that the nation gets value from the minerals it produces; hence, the weighbridge.

He said the weighbridge will also prevent overloading, which causes rapid deterioration of the roads within the haulage corridor.

Lands Minister commissions 5 speed boats to fight 'galamsey'

He pledged government’s commitment to ensure the proper management and utilisation of the mineral resources of the country for the benefit of the Ghanaian people.