One hundred and forty drone pilots who underwent military training to monitor small-scale mining in the country have passed out at the Asutuare Military Training Camp in the Greater Accra Region.The drone pilots, comprising 17 females and 123 males, were drawn from the Nations Builders Corps (NABCo), Digitise Ghana Module, to help enhance artisanal and small scale mining in the country.
They were taken through two-week training in topics such as report writing, galamsey environment, medical sports, obstacle crossing, fighting without arms and communications, among others.
Over 200 drones have been procured by the government to assist the fight against illegal mining across the country.
The drones would be used to take pictures in districts where the practice is rampant.
Prior to the military training, the drone pilots underwent three-week theoretical training on illegal mining and operation of the drones at the George Grant University of Mines and Technology at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
Captain Frederick Amankwah, Commandant of the Asutuare Military Camp, disclosed that they were taken through vigorous training to build their mental toughness.
He was optimistic the 140 NABCO personnel would help to effectively tackle illegal mining in the country.
Minister of Environment and Science, Professor. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, said that the training is in line with the President’s vision to address illegality in the mining sector.
He said that government’s grand plan to end illegal mining involves the establishment of district mining committees in mining areas across the country, deployment of Operation Vanguard, fitting tracking devices in excavators used in mining districts and use of drone technology, among others.
The minister stated that some 17 security personnel, 14 Minerals Commission officers had already been trained, stating that the 140 NABCo graduates would also manage the devices at the district level.
According to him, after the deployment of Operation Vanguard about a year ago, the ministry procured the drones to help capture data at mining concessions.
Prof. Boateng reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that people mine responsibly and that other components would be rolled out in due course.
He thanked the 64 Brigade of the Asutuare Training Camp for assisting in the fight against the degradation of the environment, appealing to the beneficiaries to maintain their professionalism.
Dr. Anyars Ibrahim, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NABCO, explained that the collaboration between his outfit and the Ministry would help gather data on the field.
“The trainees will be able to profile mining concessions, NABCo functions under three core values; knowledge for productivity and performance. The time they will fly the drones would be critical because they have to be responsible and alert, therefore we brought them here for special training,” he added.