Three illegal miners have been sentenced to 15 years each, in the Western Region.
The convicts, Joseph Donkor, 40; Joseph Paul, 27; and Charles Ewusi, 27; were also fined GHS240,000 each.
They were charged on two counts of mining without licence and conspiracy to commit crime.
The convicts were caught illegally engaging in small-scale mining in a forest reserve during an operation by a team from the Regional Forestry Commission on 16 February 2021.
The three were mining without licence contrary to Section 99 (2) (a) of the Minerals and Mining Act of 2006 (Act 703) as amended by the Minerals and Mining Act of 2019 Act 995.
The suspects, a farmer and two unemployed, are all residents at Alabankata, near Cape Three Points, in the Ahanta West District in the Western Region.
Forest reserves and water bodies have been declared as prohibited areas or red zones.