The Africa Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability (ACEES) is delighted at the decision of the government to withdraw anti-illegal mining taskforce, Operation Vanguard, from illegal mining sites.

According to the group, the military has been unable to provide 24-hour surveillance considering the landmass they were to cover adding that the deployed personnel lack appropriate accoutrement to adequately fight illegal miners who had changed their mode of operation to the night.

JoyNews has learnt the joint military and police task force against illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey’ are expected to withdraw from all their bases across the country starting Friday, February 28, 2020.

The directive is coming from the Chief of Defence Staff and the seat of government, Erastus Asare Donkor has reported.

ACEES in a statement dated Thursday, February 27, and signed by its Executive Director, Gideon Ofosu-Peasah, emphasised that the use of armed security in the fight against illegal mining anywhere in the world, particularly Congo and Peru, has failed.

“Evidence suggests that armed security personnel either get caught up in mining operations themselves, receive bribes, perpetrate human rights violations and have resulted in the loss of lives in some instances,” it stated.

It noted that: “As a country, we have had a history of failed attempts in the use of military interventions from 1980 to date; a clear evidence that the use of security in fighting illegal mining is untenable and costly. The issue of artisanal and small scale mining is a “bread and butter issue” and as such much be approached with tact.”

The group rather would prefer the state to incentivise informal miners to obtain legal status by removing barriers to formalisation. “These barriers include huge costs in obtaining legal status, delays in the permitting process, difficulty in assessing capital, lack of appropriate technology just to mention but a few.”

Read the full statement below: