A group known as the Concerned Citizens of Talensi in the Upper East Region has appealed to the President to revoke all licences granted to Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and its partners, Yenyeya and Pubodtaaba Mining Groups, to mine at Gbane in the Talensi District.
The group took to the streets of Tongo, in the Talensi District, in a protest to drive home their demand.
According to the group, Shaanxi was engaged by the Yenyeya Mining group in 2009 to provide support services for its mining activities but the first shaft that was sunk by Shaanxi was outside the Yenyeya mining group’s concession.
In a four-page petition signed by its secretary, Mr Augustine Mmi-oni Guure, which was presented to the Assistant Director in charge of Administration of the Regional Coordinating Council, Mr Andrew Akumbutum, the group indicated that the move by Shaanxi ‘‘constituted an illegality which was done under the watch of some regulatory bodies.”
The petition also emphasised that in 2012, Shaanxi allegedly caused confusion in the Gbane community which led to a court case that lasted for more than four years and ultimately brought division in the communities that host the mining concession.
They further pointed out that providing support services meant that the Shaanxi company was to provide the machinery, the finance and the expertise needed by the Yenyeya Mining Group to do sustainable mining, but Shaanxi was now mining itself contrary to the law.
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Shaanxi, the group alleged, had also taken over the work of small-scale miners in the district.
The group further explained that it was for those reasons that the then sector Minister, Mr Peter Amewu, asked the company to temporarily stop operations and seek proper licence.
The group further pointed out that from 2013 to date, the number of deaths recorded as a result of Shaanxi’s bad mining practices stood at 61, including the latest incident on January 23, 2019 that claimed about 16 lives.
It also accused the company of engaging in what it described as “target blasting which has become a ritual for the Shaanxi company since 2014 due to rivalry and competition for Gold ore and we the Concerned Citizens of Talensi feel the pain,sorrow and poverty of the bereaved families,orphans and widows".
The group also entreated the President to look into the recommendations of a committee set up on April 24, 2018 to investigate the deaths of five workers at Shaanxi.The company was found guilty and a fine of $10,000 was imposed on the company to be paid to the Minerals Commission with references to the LI 2182(56)(3).
“What is worrying is that the committee that recommended the fine against Shaanxi allegedly failed to recommend any compensation to the victims.
The group intimated that it had lost confidence in the committees set up in the past to investigate the deaths that occurred in mining disasters because usually no solutions were provided to help resolve the crisis.
The group equally expressed worry about the inability of the Shaanxi company to pay realistic wages to those it had employed.
“Pay slips obtained by us showed that some workers were under paid,” the petition said.
When contacted on the matter the Public Relations Officer of Shaanxi, Mr Maxwell Woomah, intimated that the company would issue a press statement on the matter.