Social commentator Sidney Casely-Hayford has described the government’s reported plans to use drones to fight illegal small mining after restructuring Operation Vanguard as a waste of time.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Casely-Hayford said he thought it was “a brain-dead solution” and that such a plan “will die before it is even born.”
“This a waste of time. It is not the answer to the problem,” he added.
These reported plans accompanied reports that the government will from March 2020 withdraw the military component of its anti-illegal mining taskforce, Operation Vanguard, from the field.
To continue effective monitoring of the sector, Citi News sources said the government was going to rely on mining guards and 144 drone pilots who are under the Nation Builders Corps.
But Mr. Casely-Hayford remarked that such plans have not been thought through.
“I think that we have not sat down to critically decide how we want to resolve this problem [of illegal mining],” he said.
He reiterated that whatever plan the government came up with must focus “on guaranteeing the cleanliness of the water bodies.”
“As to how somebody the ground and gets it, give them the regulations. If you dig and don’t find any gold or dig up as much gold as you want, leave the place in the condition you found it.”
Failings in Galamsey fight
Findings by some lecturers in the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana cited the fight against illegal mining as the second most disliked government policy.
As part of this policy, over 200 drones were procured by the government to assist its fight against illegal smal scale mining across the country.
The drones are used to take live images in districts where the practice is rampant.
Recent trainees underwent training in how to operate the drones at the George Grant University of Mines and Technology at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
The withdrawals of the soldiers was also a reminder for some that observers had described such an approach as unsustainable.
The failings of the military over the years started with the late 1980s where the first recorded nationwide operation against illegal mining was undertaken after the passage of the Small Scale Mining Law, PNDCL 218, 1989.
Another military operation took place in November 2006 named “Operation Flush Out” and was noted for allegations of human rights abuses.
In 2013 the government sanctioned a security operation under the banner of an “Inter-Ministerial Taskforce” which made use of military personnel.