The Ghana Chamber of Mines has urged the government to ensure that order is restored to AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine where there have been reports of violent clashes between illegal miners and employees of the mining company.
In a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sulemanu Koney, the Chamber of Mines observed that it was about time that President Mahama “urgently turns his attention to the perennial incidents of illegal miners invading concessions of large scale mining companies during election years.”
It said “the situation has arisen again with the advent of illegal miners in some cases backed by foreigners with heavy machinery and people in the corridors of power.”
The February 6 bloody attacks resulted in the untimely death of John Owusu, who was until his demise, the Public Relations Manager of AngloGold Ashanti.
AngloGold Ashanti subsequently evacuated some of its employees for safety and security reasons while the illegal miners have reportedly remained on the mine.
The Chamber of Mines expressed the belief that “the country stands to lose heavily if the activities of the illegal miners are allowed to fester ahead of the elections in 2016.”
“There is a clear and present danger to our environment and to Ghana’s economy as illegal miners fight large-scale mining companies for concessions obtained legally. This in itself breeds a sense of insecurity and fear among investors which will cause a slowdown in investment to the country’s mineral resources,” Mr. Koney was quoted in the statement as saying.
The Chamber of Mines said that “AngloGold Ashanti has particularly been inundated by the illegal miners, resulting in their inability to attract investors to partner them to revamp the mine.”
BY Melvin Tarlue