Small scale miners in the areas where Operation Halt has been carrying out an exercise to rid water bodies and forests of illegal mining activities (galamsey) have packed out of their concessions for fear of being affected.
The Concerned Small Scale Miners Association has said its members have bolted from their legally acquired concessions to avoid harassment by military personnel detailed to enforce the objectives of the Operation Halt campaign.
National President of the Association, Kwadwo Peprah, told Citi News that Operation Halt is sweeping along mining companies carrying out their activities legally and in a manner consistent with environmental regulations.
â€œAs a matter of fact, all small scale miners have packed out because per the order of the Minister, he said the military has been given the mandate to clear all persons mining in forest reserves and people working on the various water bodies.
â€œAs we speak, there is no technocrat among the military to ascertain whether you have your license or not. In order not to fall victim to whatever is happening, we have decided to pack out and see whatever action we can take,â€ he told Citi News.
As part of the anti-galamsey campaign by Operation Halt many excavators, water pumps and chanfan machines have been torched, a move some people have criticised.
However, the government has justified the burning of seized excavators and other types of equipment that were being used for illegal mining.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has said his outfit will use any means necessary to curb illegal mining.