The government’s anti-illegal mining force has clamped down on the activities of some eight illegal miners in the Ashanti and Western regions.
Operation Vanguard has carried out many swoops and apprehended some illegal miners.
In a recent communique, the leadership of the joint police and military force in the Western Region said some five persons; four Chinese and a Ghanaian were arrested.
“Operation Vanguard Joint Task Force (JTF) Forward Operating Base (FOB) West have arrested four (4) Chinese nationals and one (1) Ghanaian suspected illegal miners at Asendua near Hiawa in the Amenfi Central District of the Western Region May 21, 2018,” the statement said in part.
The suspects have been identified as Tan Zhonguang, 41; Wei Wenzxue, 40; Li Shiping, 54, Wei Hue Lim, 35 and their Ghanaian counterpart Kwabena Acheampong, 44.
The statement added that two excavators, a locally manufactured single barrel gun with three ammunitions were seized on the site.
In a different statement from the Ashanti region, the anti-illegal mining force confirmed the arrest of four suspects at Kunsu near Mankraso, also on May 21.
They have also been identified as, Felix Kwaku Tuah, 24; Kwebena Naab, 28; Kofi Emmanuel, 22 and Amable Prince, 26.
Three motorbikes, water pumping machines and immobilised 15 changfas were seized, authorities say.
The two statements have warned persons engaged in illegal mining to desist from the act as the punishments have become stiffer.
“Operation Vanguard is sending a stern warning to individuals who are still engaged in illegal mining to desist from the act. We are coming after them if they do not desist from their activities. Besides the courts are now giving stiffer punishment to culpable individuals. This time you will attract a fine and still serve jail term in hard labour,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has said the ban on small scale will soon be lifted.
“The President will be lifting the ban soon, but before then the roadmap for the way forward must be determined,” he said.
The ban was put in place in 2017 in a bid to rid the sector of illegal miners. It was expected to be lifted in March but it was extended.