Some angry youth of Abekoase in the Atiwa District in the Eastern Region have attacked a mining company in the town and destroyed its property valued at $1.5 million.
The youth, numbering about 300, reportedly went to the premises of the Adjei-Dankwa Investments, the owners of the mining site, and vandalised the property of the firm last Sunday.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Mr Patrick Adjei Dankwa, the youth set ablaze some of the equipment of the mining firm.
They included three excavators, three heavy-duty generators, six pumping machines, a welding plant, a Nelson gold concentrator, two drums each of engine and hydraulic oils and two 5,000-litre poly tanks.
The youth also burnt 6,000-litre diesel containers, six bundles of gold carpets and 1,000-litre containers.
The grief-stricken chief executive officer described the act of the youth as “unlawful and uncalled for.”
He said he received a call from his foreman last Sunday that a group of residents of Abekoase had vandalised his company and burnt some mining equipment.
“I went to the chief’s palace and the people bluntly told me that they burnt my property because the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources had placed a ban on galamsey activities,” he stated.
The CEO said following the ultimatum by the minister, his mining firm had stopped every mining activity, adding that “we were just waiting for clearance from the Atiwa District Assembly to commence operations but the youth have vandalised my company.”
Permit to operate
Dismissing the motive of youth behind their attack on his firm, Mr Adjei-Dankwah said he legally acquired a permit from the Mineral’s Commission, the Atiwa District Assembly and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to operate 20 mining concessions in the town in 2014.
“Just on April 24, 2017, the Minerals Commission and the Atiwa District gave a mining permit to my company to continue mining. I have fulfilled all corporate social responsibilities to the people and I am currently building a new palace for the chief, while l have more projects that are yet to be completed for the people,” he stated.
The CEO mentioned the ultimatum issued by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, last month as a major factor that triggered the attack on his company.
He said the minister’s failure to explain vividly the difference between small-scale mining and illegal mining to the public caused some misunderstanding that agitated the youth to consider his company as illegal.
Mr Adjei-Dankwah appealed to the government, the police and the chiefs of the area to conduct investigations to bring the perpetrators of such crime to book.
That, he believes, will serve as a strong deterrent to other youth who are bent on attacking other small-scale mining firms.
Reacting to the incident, the Amankrado of Akyem Abakoase, Nana Osei Baah, confirmed the youth’s attack on the mining company, saying that “these attackers had their own intention for damaging the property of the company.”
He denied rumours that the traditional authorities had a hand in the incident and were in no position to explain the motive behind the youth’s action.
“We the traditional authorities, therefore, will want the police to carry out immediate investigations to identify, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators,” Nana Osei Baah added.