The joint military and police taskforce against illegal mining are expected to withdraw from all their bases across the country starting Friday.

JoyNews’ Erastus Donkor Asare, who reported this, said the directive is coming from “the corridors of power.” In particular, reference was made to the Chief of Defence Staff and the seat of government.

In the absence of the taskforce, local police in all the Districts where illegal mining — otherwise called galamsey — is rife, will take over the fight.

File photo: ‘Galamsey’ pit

The taskforce, Operation Vanguard, in the Western Region town of Tarkwa, is expected to pull out on Friday, being the first to do so. The team in the Central Region will then follow suit. And then in March, the taskforce based in the Ashanti Region will follow.

The directive, sources say stem from recent allegations of compromise against members of the Operation Vanguard team, with some locals accusing them of extortion, bribery and corruption.

But, according to JoyNews sources, the evacuation of the taskforce means the fight against illegal mining is lost with water bodies across the country being heavily polluted by activities of the miners.

In the Western Region, for instance, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has said it has started rationing water supply due to the galamsey activities.

This is because heavy pollution by chemical use and other activities by the illegal miners have polluted the water bodies so much it takes multiple efforts to treat it. There will be no water supply to the communities in the Region should the menace continue, the GWCL said.

Experts also say the issue is far beyond the communities where galamsey is rife, with the country facing an impending severe water crisis.

Meanwhile, an unannounced visit by Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kweku Asumah Kyeremeh has revealed that illegal miners have destroyed about 80 hectares out of Furi Forest Reserves’ 15, 823 hectares.

This was after the illegal miners successfully outwitted the lean team of the Forestry Commission at Amiase Nsuta in the Western Region.