The government has relaunched Operation Halt II in a bid to initiate a fresh war against illegal mining activities in the country.
This was made known when the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, took his turn at the Minister’s Press Briefing organized by the Information Ministry on Thursday.
In this new operation, the granting of mining licences by the Minerals Commission and other relevant bodies will now involve the input of chiefs, regional ministers, and metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs).
The Minister disclosed that this decision became necessary in the aftermath of President Akuffo Addo’s meeting with the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi last week.
Hon. Jinapor explained that Halt II would work in conjunction with other ministry initiatives like the designation of river bodies as no-mine zones, the suspension of prospecting and reconnaissance operations in forest reserves except in exceptional circumstances, and the prohibition on the production, distribution, and use of changfan.
Additional initiatives include the introduction of mercury-free gold katchas, the creation of 83 small-scale mining committees in all mining districts throughout the nation; the redesign of community mining schemes; the purchase of speed boats to patrol the rivers; the hiring of river guards to assist in the protection of the rivers; the introduction of the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme, which now employs about 80,000 people in alternative livelihood projects; and the introduction of mercury-free gold katchas.
Educational campaigns on the dire effects of galamasey will also be introduced on traditional and social media.
Operation Halt II, made up of members of the Ghana Armed Forces, was initially launched in April 2021 with the goal of removing all individuals and mining machinery from the nation’s waterways and protected forests. This included decommissioning and demobilizing machinery, including excavators when necessary.
However, this was met with some resistance and raised eyebrows, which led to its suspension.