Tony Aubyn (middle) speaking at the press conference
The Minerals Commission has given a four-day ultimatum to illegal small-scale miners operating on the concession of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) at Obuasi to evacuate or face forcible eviction.
According to the Commission, a new area in the surrendered portions of the AGA concession had been allocated to the unlicensed miners.
It has therefore given the illegal miners up to Monday, October 10, 2016 to completely vacate the AGA’s concession.
In January 2016, a group of informal miners invaded the AGA mine and have been working illegally to date which has resulted in numerous accidents and casualties underground.
In order to avoid unnecessary violent confrontation and possible loss of lives, government opted to negotiate the exit of the unauthorized operators.
Committee set up
Following series of meetings between the Minerals Commission, government and the informal operators, a decision was made to set up a committee to oversee the relocation of the informal miners from AGA’s concession to the surrendered areas.
The committee subsequently recommended that the illegal miners must be relocated and formalized on relinquished 273 sq.km land that formed part of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi mine’s within its Obuasi, Adansi North and Amanise Central concessions earlier this year with approval from the Minerals Commission.
Dr. Tony Aubyn, Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, at a press conference in Accra yesterday said, “All the informal miners currently working on the AGA’s concession are by this directive to cease the opportunity to formalize their operations with the Minerals Commission and other relevant government agencies within the surrendered areas that have been prepared for them.”
Work on new concession
He said mapping and preparation of three key areas within 60 percent surrounded area earmarked for the relocation had been completed and ready for allocation to the illegal miners.
“An estimated three kilometers of access road has been cleared to the mining site at Suhyienso and another half a kilometer of access road was cleared to the mining site at Kotopreso and its environs. Further clearing and trenching of sites located at Adumanu is also in progress, Dr Aubyn added.
He said the Minerals Commission cannot guarantee that illegal miners would not be relocated through other legitimate means if they fail to move by the said date.
The Commission, Dr Aubyn said, can also not guarantee allocation of the new site if they fail to relocate by the said date.
By Cephas Larbi