The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) has warned of stiffer punishment for foreigners who sneak into the country to engage in illegal mining activities, popularly referred to as galamsey, with the connivance of some Ghanaians.

The ministry stressed that in their own interest, foreigners who were actively engaged in the illegal action, contrary to the law, should respect the laws of the land, as they would be shown no mercy when they were arrested.

Similarly, it warned Ghanaians who had been given the opportunity to mine at the small-scale level not to be lured into working with foreigners, as that was against the law.

The warning follows the revelation that the recent invasion of restricted mining areas has a large number of foreigners — Chinese, Ivorians, Togolese, Malians, among others — who are defying the laws of the country to continue the degradation and the pollution of water bodies.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker, said the current situation had come to the notice of the ministry, and that those found culpable would not just be arrested and deported as foreigners but also made to face the full rigours of the law before deportation.

Ghana, he said, was a country of laws and those who wished to visit the country must be ready to obey the laws.

“Ghana’s laws bar any act of illegal mining or mining in water bodies and forest reserves. There is an intervention to stop the illegal and environmentally degrading mining, which has led to the introduction of the community mining programme.

“While we continue to sanitise the mining space, we cannot have foreigners defying our laws, so we are warning them to put a stop to it, as they will not be spared when they are apprehended,” the deputy minister stressed.

Source: Graphic