'Lack of employment no justification' for illegal mining - Abu Jinapor
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says the government remains fully committed to protecting Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi Mine while working to ensure responsible and environmentally-sound small scale mining in Obuasi.
The Minister stated this on Monday, [June 5, 2023] when he paid a working visit to Obuasi following an invasion of an underground mining pit within AngloGold Ashanti’s concession by some illegal miners last week, leading to a clash between the security in the Municipality and some youth of the town.
- Illegal miners trapped in AngloGold shaft
- No one trapped in AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi underground mine - Management
The purpose of the visit was to assess the situation on the ground, and engage the various stakeholders involved in the impasse.
The Minister held separate meetings with traditional leaders in the Adansi Traditional area, small scale miners, the Municipal and District Security Councils in the Obuasi Municipality and Obuasi East District, as well as the management of AngloGold Ashanti.
He also, visited the area of the concession where the illegal miners used to assess the pit, and other illegal routes created by some of the miners.
Mr. Jinapor assured the mining company of government’s unflinching commitment to the protection of its concessions. "We’ve got a deeper understanding of the issues at stake. We’ve had very detailed discussions and a lot of conclusions have been reached to first of all protect the concession of AngloGold Ashanti and map out strategy which will give us sustainable resolution of the matter."
In the meeting with the small scale miners, the Minister underscored the need for them to respect the laws of the country, and ensure that they operate legally and responsibly in accordance with laid down procedures.
He said the government was not against small scale mining, but will not condone illegal small scale mining that pays no regard to the laws of the country.
Briefing the media after the meetings, Mr. Jinapor reiterated the commitment of government to the protection of AngloGold’s Obuasi Mine and every licensed mining firm in the country.
The Minister emphasised the crucial economic importance of the AngloGold Obuasi Mine to the country.
He said illegal mining activities contributed to the Mine being put under care and maintenance in 2016.
But through the instrumentality of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Mine was brought back to life in 2019.
He called on all stakeholders to work together to protect the Mine as a national asset.
“I want to underscore the importance of this asset to the economy of this country… I should say so forcefully that it is government’s policy that AngloGold’s concession be protected through any legal means”, he said.
Mr. Jinapor added that the mining laws of the country will be strictly enforced and persons who flout the laws will be made to face the full rigours of the law.
The Minister also tasked the Deputy Minister responsible for Mines, George Mireku Duker, to chair a committee to, among others, examine the Internal Security Architecture of the company as well as provide Alternative Livelihood opportunities for the teaming Youth through the creation of Community Mining Schemes (CMS) and ensure a healthy and closer collaboration among all stakeholders in the Municipality.
He, however, insisted that “lack of employment cannot be a justification for illegalities.”
The management of AngloGold Ashanti thanked the Minister for his interest in the matter. They said all 86 illegal miners who went underground have come out and been handed over to the police. They pledged their commitment to work with Government to ensure a healthy collaboration between the company and the community.