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Gov’t ready to flush-out illegal miners
Posted on: 21-Aug-2012         Source: thebftonline.com
Government says it will no longer tolerate the activities of illegal miners and any form of their activities that will degenerate into lawlessness and insecurity, the Western Regional Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo has said.

“The Regional Coordinating Council will no longer tolerate any form of activities which could degenerate into lawlessness and insecurity.

“I urge all illegal miners operating in the Region to end their activities, or the security agencies will descend on them and flush them out.”

Mr. Aidoo said illegal miners in the region should regularise their activities by registering their businesses with the Minerals Commission.

He said the activities of illegal miners affect the livelihoods of mining communities because they do not pay taxes to the government, or pay compensation for farm lands they destroy.

He appealed to mining companies to use the appropriate channel to secure the assistance of security agencies in their efforts to protect their concessions, to avoid confrontations.

Mr. Aidoo told this to representatives of Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Minerals Commission, Municipal Chief Executives, traditional rulers, and assembly members from Tarkwa and Obuasi at AngloGold Ashanti’s first national Town Hall meeting held in Tarkwa in the Western Region.

Kwesi Enyan, Managing Director, AGA (Ghana) Obuasi Mine, revealed that the mine is currently faced with a growing number of illegal mining activities within its Obuasi and Iduapriem concessions.

“The issue of illegal mining has in recent times become a major challenge to deal with in our operational areas, especially at the Obuasi mine with illegal miners encroaching on the mining concessions. It is a very dangerous practice and it is affecting our operations.”

The impact of illegal mining activities, he said, comprises sinkholes, collapse of surface infrastructure, destruction of retaining pillars underground, and potential flooding due to arbitrary holes.

Others include damage and corruption of potential or remnant resources and reserves for future mining; destabilisation of mine infrastructure; and the disruption of production by theft of water, compressed air and electrical lines.

Mr. Enyan promised that AGA will collaborate with the Minerals Commission and Chamber of Mines to curb the menace of illegal mining operations on its concessions.

Dr. Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, called on the government to strengthen its resolve in tackling the nuisance of illegal miners.

“Illegal mining should no longer be considered business as usual; and while the Chamber supports the participation of Ghanaians in the mining value chain, the illegality around a large number of their operations and the negative impact on the environment is totally unacceptable,” he said.