<![CDATA[Residents of four communities in the Wassa Amenfi East District of the Western Region are demanding immediate action from government to halt the takeover of their lands by some foreign nationals for mining activities. The residents who are from Adiembra, Japa, Gyaaman and one other claim some Chinese and Indian nationals as well as an Australian mining company are intimidating and extorting money from some small scale miners in the areas. According to the group, which organised a news conference to register their protest, these foreign nationals have invaded their lands under the pretence of prospecting for gold but end up in illegal mining activities. They have accused some traditional authorities in the area of conniving with these foreign nationals, who they claim have been using the security agencies, mostly the military to intimidate the locals. One of the leaders of the group, Kwame Boah, told 3News Friday that within the four communities, small scale mining, popularly known as “galamsey” is the most popular job but the activities of the foreigners were impeding their work. He claimed one Eric, who is an agent of an Australian mining company, Tribune, has been extorting whopping sums of money from the local small scale miners. The company, according to Mr Boah, claims to have a prospecting permit from the government hence the agent goes round where the locals are mining to demand at least GHC10,000 from people because the said people were operating under their concession. “After three weeks of taking the money he comes back to warn you to leave the place because some soldiers and the ‘white’ people are coming, and when you fail to leave he brings soldiers to intimidate you,” Mr Boah alleged. He said should they sit there to allow the foreigners to take over the small scale mining in their towns, the number of people who will be rendered unemployed will be overwhelming. Mr Boah said they welcome the decision by the government to regularise their activities, saying “We are ready to cope with the government and ever ready to pay tax or have our activities regularised as against giving concessions to foreigner”
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