The The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the illegal small scale miners who have vanished from the mining sites in the wake of the anti-galamsey campaign will not be allowed to return.

John Peter Amewu said his ministry will keep sustained vigilance on the sites that have become notorious for galamsey activities.

He gave the assurance Wednesday in an interview with Joy News'  Evans Mensah on Newsnite.

The assurance comes on the final day of a 21-day ultimatum issued for the illegal small scale miners to vacate the sites and to end the indiscriminate mining which has left the water bodies in mining areas completely polluted.

The activities of the illegal small scale miners have been a source of concern to many including government and other civil society organisations.

A visit to the illegal small-scale mining areas in the Ashanti and Central regions shows a heartbreaking situation of many degraded lands and  polluted rivers.

Over 20,000 illegal small scale miners some of whom are Chinese and other nationals have religiously plundered the country's natural resources and left the environment endangered.

It is feared Ghana may soon be importing water if the current state of water pollution by illegal small scale miners is not addressed.

Early this year, there are has been a concerted fight against the illegal small scale mining, a fight which has seen the media, government and other civil society groups playing a key role.

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister have toured most of the mining sites including Akwatia, Kyebi to inspect the situation following the 21-day ultimatum.

He reported the situation as "encouraging" adding over 500 excavators have been abandoned by the illegal small scale miners.

He said there is the likelihood of the illegal miners returning to the sites but warned there will be a strict enforcement of the laws to ward off such miscreants.

John Peter Amewu said they have had thorough discussions with people within mining communities and have assured them persons hitherto engaged in illegal mining will be provided an alternative livelihood activities to prevent them from returning to the sites.