The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry is set to introduce three high-speed Diamond DA-42 aircraft for surveillance in the next six months as part of its renewed effort to combat destructive illegal mining and systemize the small-scale mining sector.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mines, Mr George Mireku Duker, who disclosed this to the media during an inspection of the aircraft at the Takoradi Airforce Base on Friday, said this would be done in cooperation with the Ghana Airforce and the Ghana Chamber of Mines, which would be responsible for paying the 700,000 euros cost of retrofitting the aircraft before they are deployed.
He also emphasized three key aircraft components that were critical to repair, rather than purchase new machinery that would serve the same purpose.
“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.
After inspecting the aircraft, the Deputy Minister stated that the sustainability of the government’s current flagship policy of gold for oil would be heavily dependent on a formal and structured small-scale mining sector and that the Lands Ministry would fight until the sector was formalized.
Mr Mireku Duker stated that the aircraft work was expected to take six months.
“Among other things, the aircraft servicing work will include the replacement of crashes, hard drives, outdated software and engines,” he assured.
The Diamond DA-42 aircrafts were purchased and delivered to the Ghana Airforce in 2011 for offshore surveillance but have since developed faults in the communication and surveillance software.
Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD