Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng Minister for Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation and also Chairperson for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) has disclosed that most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners have vanished.
It will be recalled that last year the GALAMSTOP, a taskforce set up by the Small Scale Mining Association to fight illegal mining seized about 500 excavators from these illegal miners.
These machines were kept at various district assemblies but Prof. Frimpong Boateng says most of them have disappeared.
"The task force seized a lot of excavators and kept them at the various offices, we sent people to talk to the district assemblies, we got vanguard involved and we realized most of the excavators have disappeared," he said on the Joy Super Morning Show.
The most talked-about case of a disappearance of an excavator was when the Tarkwa Divisional Police Command commenced investigations leading to the burning of an exhibit excavator valued at GH¢500,000 which was in the custody of GALAMSTOP.
The excavator, CAT 330 BL, was among a number of earthmoving equipment seized at mining sites in the Western Region, and supposedly transported to Accra for safekeeping, only for it to disappear.
According to a highly placed police source at the Headquarters in Accra, an intensive search mounted by the owners led to the location of the excavator at the Kutukrom Forest Reserve (Nsuta Forest Reserve) in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region, whilst engaged in illegal mining activities resulting in its burning.
The government last year launched a campaign against illegal mining popularly known as 'Galamsey' in Ghana.
This made President Akufo-Addo assent to the new illegal mining law which pegs sentences for offenders between 15 to 25 years.
Illegal mining can be a subsistence activity, as is the case with artisanal mining, or it can belong to large-scale organized crime, spearheaded by illegal mining syndicates.
Over the years, Ghana has seen an influx of Chinese illegal miners who engage in all sorts of crimes.
The most notable among them was Aisha Huang who was deported after engaging in illegal mining for years in Ghana.