The Minerals Commission has identified 70 groups of illegal small-scale miners to be relocated from concessions of Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi Mine.
A District Mining Committee has therefore been inaugurated at Obuasi in the Ashanti region to oversee the peaceful exit of the unlicensed miners from AGA concession to demarcated areas within the lease area surrendered by the company.
Anglogold Ashanti has been battling the illegal miners who have encroached and taken over the company’s mining operations at Obuasi in recent times.
Over the years, there have been a number of casualties and loss of lives arising from conflicts in some areas where unlicensed small-scale mining thrive.
The Minerals Commission describes the problem at the Obuasi Mines as “a crisis or near crisis situation” that calls for immediate attention.
“It is clear that we need to strengthen, broaden and coordinate better our efforts in tackling the challenge of illegal mining in the country and I know measures have been put in place for short, medium to long-term solutions,” said Richard Kofi Afenu, Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Commission.
The Paramount Chief of Adansi Traditional Area, Opagyakotwere Bonsra Afriyie II, says government should be proactive in salvaging the situation where individuals enrich themselves at the expense of the State.
“We as traditional rulers cannot sit down for people to do whatever they like when we have a government that controls the security forces,” he said. “It’s the government’s responsibility to make sure the police controls Obuasi if there is a problem… when there is illegal miming inside a concession and the law does not allow the concession owners to have security with guns; and we call the police and the military and cannot get it, then somebody must accept responsibility”.
Municipal Chief Executive for Obuasi, Richard Ofori Agyemang Boadi, however says government is committed to providing security protection to investors and investments, including Anglogold Ashanti, to continue to stay in business for the common good.
“As we speak, there is a deployment of police and military on the mine,” he said.
Mr. Boadi observed chiefs and traditional authorities must refrain from aiding and facilitating the thriving illegal mining activities which are negatively impacting on farmlands and water bodies.
The AGA in March 2016 surrendered 60percent – 273 square kilometer – of the Obuasi Concession, but retained the Obuasi Mine, where portions have been encroached upon by unlicensed miners.
The Minerals Commission is hopeful the inaugurated committee will assist regulatory agencies to resolve the impasse evicting illegal miners from concessions of Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi mine.
The Committee will also assist in the formation of small scale mining cooperatives to enable them apply for mining concessions in the surrendered area.
The 15-member committee, Chaired by Eng. Kwaku Frimpong Kumah, comprises representatives from the Minerals Commission, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners, the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, Anglogold Ashanti Ghana Limited, Municipal Police Command and the Adansi North Traditional Council.
By Kofi Adu Domfeh | 3news.com | Ghana