The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resource, George Mireku Duker has embarked on an inspection of the aircraft to be used in the fight against illegal mining at the Takoradi Airforce Base.
The initiative forms the renewed effort to fight illegal mining in the country.
According to the Minister, tye government will in the next months introduce three high-speed Diamond DA-42 aircraft for surveillance.
The Diamond DA-42 aircraft were procured and delivered in 2011 to the Ghana Airforce originally for offshore surveillance.
However, they developed faults and the communication and surveillance software have malfunctioned.
The repair work is expected to last for six months, the Minister indicated.
“The servicing works on the aircraft will see the replacement of crashes, hard drives, outdated software and engines among others”, he said.
He stated that the new move would be in collaboration with the Ghana Airforce and the Ghana Chamber of Mines who are expected to pay for the retrofitting of the aircraft at a cost of €700,000 before they are deployed.
“These are specialised aircraft for surveillance and recognisance, and we believe our regularisation effort could help in getting things done, especially getting the galamsey menace controlled. That is why my government is collaborating with private partners like the Chamber of Mines. They have come together on this one, and we anticipate that they will take up the cost and use it to monitor their activities and also help in checking the galamsey”, he said.
He added “As I speak, government has embarked upon a gold for oil policy and if we are going to be vigorous about that journey, then we must have a regularized industry… I believe the President is so determined in fighting the galamsey canker on ours and fortunately for us, due to the collaboration the Ministry has with the Chamber of Mines, we have come together to restore these special aircraft to assist in fighting the galamsey”
“This is an effort we are making to clamp down on recalcitrant persons who are still determined to destroy our industry. We want to streamline and regulate activities in the mining sector… We believe that it is cost-effective compared to procuring drones and other equipment. Though drones may have their efficiencies, this could be in the air for hours without being noticed and collect evidence that can be used in a court of law“, he noted.