ASMAN appeals to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for intervention

Accra� The Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Africa Network (ASMAN) has appealed to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining to intervene for the speedily regularisation of informal small-scale miners at Obuasi.

The ASMAN made the appeal in a statement issued to the Ghana News Agency.

It said it would be recalled that in 2016 a number of illegal miners invaded AngloGold Ashanti’s underground mine in Obuasi and after several efforts to eject them failed, the Minerals Commission constituted a Movement Committee that recommended the relocation of the miners to a 273-kilometre square concession that had been released to the government by AngloGold Ashanti.

The statement said; This move by the Minerals Commission follows years of complains by the artisanal and small scale miners to get their own concession to work on in Obuasi and upon that the AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) then released 60 per cent of its concession to the Mineral Commission.

It said the Movement Committee mapped out and prepared three key areas within the ceded 273 square kilometres surrendered by the AGA and earmarked these areas for the relocation of the illegal miners.

The statement said this key step by the Commission led to the successful evacuation of the illegal miners from AGA’s concession, and paved the way for the resumption of operations of the Obuasi mine.

It said the informal miners, who had been registered and grouped into cooperatives would have started work in 2017, but for the ban on all forms of small scale mining by the government.

It is therefore surprising that this same Minerals Commission is now processing this allocated concession for another company by the name Angel Mining Company Limited, and that administratively, using the ‘first come first served’ method, the concession in question has already been surrendered, and any attempt to give it to any other entity amounts to daylight robbery, and sadly, a betrayal of trust, the statement said.

It said this was not the first time that the Minerals Commission had made a U turn when it comes to the allocation of concessions for small scale miners, and that in 2009, when Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shed off an area of their concession, which had previously hosted large numbers of artisanal miners at Noyem in the eastern portion of their concession located within the Birim North District of the Eastern Region, the area was subsequently blocked-out for small scale mining by the Commission and it commenced licensing processes for artisanal groups, which had applied.

The statement said during the licensing, the Commission used technicalities to favour another large scale mining company, AQ Ghana Gold Ltd (AQGGL) to buyout the concession from the artisanal miners with impunity, and that today the Noyem blocked-out area for small scale mining has been taken over once again by large-scale mining.

It said the ASMAN was therefore being guided by what happened in Noyem, and had foreseen a similar economic injustice happening in Obuasi and that if this issue was not properly addressed, it could reverse the progress made in resolving the standoff in Obuasi, which has been acclaimed as a model for resolving small and large scale mining conflicts.

Source: Ghana News Agency