Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has indicated that the government has not sold any seized mining excavator and asked anyone with contrary information to provide better and further particulars to support his or her claims.
According to the Minister, there are currently 157 excavators after the Ministry took an inventory of excavators seized by the Operation Vanguard and could be located in Adenta,Obuasi and Tarkwa respectively.
He made this disclosure at the Ministry’s Meet-the-Press series in Accra on Wednesday when answering questions from journalists regarding seized excavators from illegal mining sites.
He strongly debunked claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that, there were 500 missing excavators with the allegations that government operatives sold those excavators.
On Mr Ekow Ewusi, former Central Regional NPP Vice Chairman’s case who was accused of auctioning seized mining excavators, the Minister said the case was being investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh noted that the Minerals and Mining laws had not been changed; either has it not been suspended because of the December 7 elections.
He revealed that the Ministry would deal ruthlessly with anyone caught undertaking illegal mining, also known as ‘Galamsey’.
Speaking on arrangements made by the government to ensure safe mining activities, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh said the government had trained 4,500 small scale miners at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, who are currently operating under approved mining guidelines.
Moreover, 14 Community Mining Schemes were launched by the government across the country with the potential of generating 1.6 million jobs for small scale miners.
In light of this, the Obuasi Mine which was shut down by the NDC has been reopened after the incumbent NPP government signed a partnership agreement with a mining investor in August this year.
The Obuasi Mine, he said, currently operated underground mechanised mining, with 4,265 permanent staff of which majority of them were Ghanaians.
The Ministry, he said, had established an online portal to help streamline large scale mining companies’ activities, adding that 17 large scale mining firms were registered onto that portal while 187 mining support services had been hooked onto it.