The Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Africa-Network (ASMAN) is calling for full scale investigations into allegations of vandalism and abuse of human rights by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on illegal mining.
According to AMSAN, members of the taskforce invariably operates outside their mandate as they loot, burn and cause destruction to equipment belonging to some legalized operators .
President John Dramani Mahama in May 2013, instituted the Taskforce in a bid to ensure sanity in the mining industry and save the environment from further destruction by activities of illegal miners otherwise known as ‘galamsey’ operators.
ASWAM in a petition to the Ministry of Mines and Natural Resources, expressed disappointment in government for failing to investigate alleged acts of violence and cruelty meted out to some legal small scale miners by the Taskforce.
“Some scenes of these allegations were even shown on national television during which state security personnel were seen setting structures ablaze and harassing people, both Ghanaians and foreigners alike.
“It is also on record that a similar act of violence and cruelty had been meted out to a Small Scale Diamond Miner in the Eastern Region, during which two (2) excavators were allegedly set ablaze by the joint special security team, which visited the mining site.
“This development, we at the Artisanal & Small Scale Mining Africa-Network (ASMAN) saw as not only unfortunate but very much outside the remit of the Task Force as was clearly stated by the President,” the petition noted.
The group is therefore requesting an independent committee of inquiry, comprising the major stakeholders in the small scale mining sector, to be set up to investigate these allegations.
It further demanded among others, a full disclosure of the report on the activities of the Taskforce during the first phase of its operations, for critical scrutiny by stakeholders.
The petition further suggests: “Government upon consultations with stakeholders provides a policy direction as to what to be done profitably with the seized equipment”.
The group is further demanding government assurance to consult the small scale miners in the work of any future taskforce in order to avert any lapses in their work.
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