The Ghana Chamber of Mines has called for the deployment of an ‘elite Police force,’ in place of the Military who have been withdrawn from providing security services to mining companies to help address some significant security challenges.
According to the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr. Eric Asubonteng, ‘by the nature of the mining business, it is confronted with some security risks.’ He said the state, over the years, has provided support to maintain security and have the confidence to operate.
However, he noted that with the removal of the military, who were often stationed at various mines site to address some security risks like a mass invasion, activities of illegal mining have increased on the concessions of some of the mining companies.
He noted that considering the spate of this development if immediate actions are not taken the situation will worsen by the time the year ends.
It is against this backdrop that the Ghana Chamber of Mines has appealed for an introduction of ‘at least elite Police personnel’ to address this particular security challenge.
Mr. Asubonteng who was speaking during a donation to the National House of Chiefs, in Kumasi, also used the occasion to call on the House to support its advocacy on the deployment of elite police personnel to the sites of its producing member companies.
“The mining industry is extremely worried about potential upscale in encroachment on mine concessions as we approach 2020, which is an election year.”
He also noted that the industry supports the recent introduction of the Community Mining Initiative, by the government. “We want to ensure that if it can work as is intended then it will be for the benefit of all,” he added.
However, he said despite the knowledge that several zones have been secured to make the initiative operational, including the provision of lands by some traditional authorities, some people have begun to abuse the initiative by encroaching on the concessions of some mining companies.
The President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines said some signages have come upon concessions of member companies claiming ownership of parts of those concessions, as part of the lands designated for the programme.
He said, “If we are unable to nip this in the bud it is going to cause several challenges.” Also, he observed that it will undermine the progress of the government’s initiative to clampdown illegal mining while threatening the investments made by the mining companies.
This, he said, could dampen the spirit of investors to invest in the local mining sector which will lead to some long-lasting impact.
The Chamber, therefore, also called on the National House of Chiefs to urge the government to clearly stipulate the modalities of the community mining programme in order to educate the public on right the processes.
The President of the Chamber in the company of the Chief Executive, Mr. Sulemanu Koney, and other officials, also called on the government to consider increasing the percentage of the mineral royalties returned to local mining communities.
He urged that the royalties should be channeled into infrastructural projects to improve the livelihoods of those in the mining communities, instead of using it for recurrent expenditure.
The Chamber made a cheque donation of GH?100,000 towards the refurbishment of the National House of Chiefs’ office complex.
Mr. Asubonteng presenting a cheque to President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV