The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has retrieved eight excavators and mining-related equipment at some illegal mining sites in Tugakrom in the Suaman District of the Western North Region.
The Minister was accompanied by some military personnel for the exercise.
The team observed that about 100 acres of land had been destroyed by the illegal miners at Tugakrom and its environs.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to prioritise the fight against illegal mining to help sanitise the small-scale mining sector.
The Minister encouraged indigenes who wanted to venture into small-scale mining to apply for licenses, instead of conspiring with foreigners to undertake illegal mining to destroy the environment.
Meanwhile, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh questioned the competence of the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Suaman, Christian Baah, and the District Police Commander, Theophilus Boateng, for their failure to protect the State’s interest against illegal mining.
According to the Minister, the DCE and the Police Commander conspicuously failed to protect some nine excavators seized from illegal miners in the area in March, this year.
The Minister told the media that the seized excavators were placed in the custody of the DCE and the Police Commander for Suaman.
However, when the Minister returned later, some major parts of the excavators were missing, thus, making it impossible to transport them.
Interestingly, when the Minister and some security personnel visited Suaman on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, eight of the seized excavators were on illegal mining sites at Tugakrom.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh wondered how the excavators moved from the custody of the DCE and the Police Commander to the bush for illegal mining.
The visibly angry Minister indicated that he would report the ineptitude of the DCE and the Police Commander to the President at the next Cabinet meeting for disciplinary actions to be taken against them.
A number of mining equipment at some of the sites visited were burnt by the national security operatives as the Minister vowed to crack down on illegal mining.