General News of Monday, 10 July 2017
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has published the names of some mining companies that have an arrangement with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) for soldiers to provide security at their mining sites.
In late May 2017, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, challenged the leadership of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to come clean on the activities of some soldiers who have been providing security at illegal mining sites.
The minister threw the challenge when he found two soldiers providing security at a mining site – Geo Professional Services Limited at Tontokrom in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region during the final lap of a four-day visit to the region as part of the #Stopgalamsey campaign.
When he asked the soldiers, who were in full military uniforms and were holding MG16 rifles, how they got to the site, they mentioned the name of a senior military officer as the one who assigned them to the area.
Mr Amewu ordered the arrest of two Russians and two Ukrainians who were working at the site for their alleged involvement in illegal mining in the community and caused the confiscation of their machines at the site.
The Minister’s reaction to the soldiers presence at the mining company generated a public debate as to why soldiers should provide security at mining companies.
Following the soldiers withdrawal from Geo Professional Services (GPS), some people ransacked and stole almost every movable item from the company’s mining site.
The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, after an investigation announced that the GAF has a formal arrangement with the Chamber of Mines for military men to provide security at some mining sites.
He however denied reports that suggested that some military men were providing security for illegal miners.
On Monday July 10, 2017 however, the Ministry published the list of companies that included Geo Professional Services Limited which have an arrangement with the military for security.
“The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources wishes to bring to the attention of the general Public that the Ghana Chamber of Mines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ghana Army for the provision of Military Personnel to be deployed at the mine sites of some of its members on request.
“The following Mining companies are covered by the Memorandum of Understanding.”
However, eight other mining companies and mining groups have their own agreements with the Ghana Army.