The Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has refuted suggestions that drones procured to complement the fight against illegal small-scale mining cost the taxpayer $3million.
Former Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu first announced the government’s plan to procure the monitoring devices in March 2017, but received some backlash from the public over the $3 million cost.
However, Prof Frimpong-Boateng told news editors on Thursday, 13 December 2018 that they “didn’t use $3million” for the purchase of the drones.
“We did not spend more than $500,000 on all the drones, tablets and technical things. The receipts are there; very transparent,” he added.
The over 200 drones procured by the committee will be used to take live images and data from mining areas to curb illegal mining activities that are causing devastation to the environment.
Some security personnel, officials from the Minerals Commission and over 140 selected graduates from the National Builders Corp (NaBCo) under the Digital Ghana Module have been trained to operate the drones.
Offices in all the Regional Coordinating Councils in all the mining regions have flight areas where monitoring activities will be conducted.
The government on Friday, 14 December unveiled a new mining policy and plan to regularise and streamline the activities of small-scale miners.
The committee has drawn a comprehensive plan backed by the use of technology to ensure that small-scale mining is formalised and conducted in a sustainable manner to prevent destruction to natural resources.