The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has directed all owners, operators and users of excavators in the country to register their equipment with the metropolitan, municipal or district assembly (MMDA) within their jurisdiction latest by November 2, this year.
“An owner, operator and/or user of an excavator shall, at the time of registration, specify the purpose for which the excavator is being used or to be used and the area where the excavator is being used or will be used, as the case may be,” he stated.
Specifically, the minister said the MMDAs must, as part of the registration process, record the name and particulars of the owner of the excavator, the date the excavator was brought into the country, the registration number of the excavator, and its chassis number.
Additionally, he said the assemblies must be certain about the purposes for which the excavator was brought into the country, the area where it was expected to be used, the name and particulars of the current operator or user of the excavator, “and any other particulars the MMDAs may deem necessary.”
Mr Jinapor explained that the directive was in the exercise of the powers conferred on him as the minister responsible for Mines by section 100(1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
Again, he said the directive was to ensure the “effective and efficient” implementation of the provisions of Mineral and Mining (Mineral Operations – Tracking of Earth Moving and Mining Equipment) Regulations, 2020 (L.I. 2404).
The minister stressed that any excavator that was not registered in accordance with the directive, whether found at a mining site or any other operational site, “shall be seized and the necessary legal steps taken to confiscate same to the state.”
“Notice is hereby given to the general public, and particularly owners, operators and or users of excavators, as well as all MMDAs to ensure strict compliance with these directives,” he said.
Mr Jinapor reiterated that the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry would work with all stakeholders to implement the necessary measures to protect the environment, particularly, water bodies, forests and lands.
He noted that despite the complex nature of the galamsey fight, the government would continue to roll out all-encompassing measures to deal with the menace “in a transparent and sustainable manner, anchored on integrity.”
The minister said for as long as galamsey continued to pose a threat to the country’s natural environment, particularly water bodies and forests, the government would not rest until the menace was stemmed.
He said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was committed to implementing workable interventions that were proposed by the national consultative dialogue on illegal mining held in April 2021.
“It was resolved by paragraph 13 of the communique issued after the conference that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will take appropriate steps, legislative and/or executive action, as the case may be, to give effect to the set of measures arising from this dialogue and approved by the government,” he said.
He said since most of the devastation to water bodies and forests were caused by excavators used in illegal mining activities and the floating platform, popularly referred to as “Changfang”, the usage of such equipment would be strictly monitored.