Business News of 2014-09-01

Gov’t plans to eradicate illegal miners still on course

Government says it will not relent on its decision to eradicate the activities of both Ghanaian and foreign illegal miners operating on AngloGold Ashanti concessions in Obuasi and Amansie Central districts.

“I warn both Ghanaian and foreign illegal miners operating on AngloGold Ashanti concessions in the Obuasi and Amansie Central districts to pack up and leave, as the government has not relented in its decision to eradicate their activities at all costs.”

Dr. Samuel Sarpong, Ashanti Regional Minister, gave the warning at a meeting with Assemblymen and women at the Obuasi Municipal Assembly.

“Illegal mining activities continue to pose serious threats to the security and development of people in the region. “In spite of the numerous interventions made to fight the menace at national, regional and district levels through the security councils, some people continue to engage in illegal mining activities to the detriment of our natural resources and reserves.”

Dr. Sarpong explained that in his bid to give a lasting blow to illegal mining activities in Obuasi and other mining communities in the region, the Ashanti Regional Security Council has set up the Anti-Galamsey Committee to ensure responsible mining in order to reduce the destruction and pollution associated with illegal mining activities in the region.

He urged stakeholders in the municipality, particularly the chiefs and members of the municipal security council, to work together to inject sanity into the small-scale mining industry in the region.

More than 10,000 illegal miner are believed to be working on AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi and Amansie Central district concession, though legally any individual or group other than AngloGold Ashanti prospecting, exploring, mining and processing gold is engaged in illegal activity.

While the Chinese and other foreign illegal miners with sophiscated pieces of equipment are working destructively in river beds with deadly chemicals such as mercury, their Ghanaian counterparts are using hard rock explosives on the core areas of the Obuasi operation.

Both have total disregard for their safety and the safety of the people in the communities, as well as the safety of AngloGold Ashanti employees and dependents.

The worrying trend in illegal mining these days is that the local illegal miners have been acquiring explosives illegally from some of the explosives manufacturers and distributors and are freely using them in their activities, though the laws of the country do not allow the sale of explosives to illegal users.

“In Obuasi the illegal miners, irrespective of their colour and origin, are all violently and irresponsibly abusing the AngloGold Ashanti ore-body; destroying forest, polluting water bodies and killing livelihoods of the poor people in the communities -- with the active support of local politicians, chiefs and other landowners,” Dr. Sarpong said.

Source: B&FT
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