The Bawku District Circuit court has fined one hundred and nine (109) illegal miners between GHS 1,200 and GHS 12,000 for illegally mining in a forest reserve.
In default of their respective fines, the miners will serve between three (3) and six (6) years imprisonment.
The police prosecutor Joseph Nyame, told the court presided over by Justice Prosper Duelove Gamashie that on 17th may, 2018, a task force, the operation Kondanlgou – 2018 embarked on an operation and proceeded to the east of the red Volta forest reserve at Zamela in the Nabdam district and upon intelligence, found that the accused persons had created settlement on a portion of the forest where they were mining illegally.
The prosecutor said the operation also discovered that the accused persons had destroyed some part of the forest as they erected temporal houses and living there while they undertook the small scale mining popularly known as galamsay.
Meanwhile, government’s anti-illegal mining task force, the Operation Vanguard has disclosed that illegal miners are not punished well enough to deter others from engaging in the act.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Operation Vanguard, Squadron Leader Robison Omane-Agyei who reveal this said the situation is worrying and makes their work difficult.
Explaining further at a at a stakeholders forum at Osino in the Eastern region, organized by Media Coalition Against Galamsey last week, he noted that out of the 172 Chinese nationals arrested for galamsey since last July, only 22 have been jailed, adding the Chinese constitute 97% of foreign nationals arrested by the task force since last year.
He therefore appealed to Judges to apply maximum punishment stipulated in the Minerals and Mining Act to illegal miners to serve as a deterrent for others engaging in the illicit act.