A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker, has ordered the management of Big Stone Mining Limited to, as a matter of urgency, address all safety and health concerns of their site or face a shutdown.
He gave the directive during a tour of the company on Thursday. He expressed unhappiness at the blatant disregard for health and safety protocols outlined in the licenses granted to the company.
The Deputy Minister directed the staff of the Minerals Commission, who were part of his delegation, to ensure that the company complies with the order.
Mr Mireku Duker also reminded the company of its responsibility of ensuring the safety of its workers.
He warned that the Ministry and Minerals Commission will not watch unconcerned for companies to flout the laws of the country with impunity.
“I’ve seen things that I’m not happy with in terms of your health and safety protocols. This place doesn’t befit the status of large scale concession and that must be immediately addressed. The environment is already weedy.
“This is the headquarters of Big Stone where your administrative offices are, then it’s an eyesore. I will ask my technical officers to immediately act on that. I cannot fathom why I should come and meet this situation. We are mandated by the L.I to shut your operations based on what we are seeing here,” he stressed.
Mr Mireku Duker also tasked the company to build strong relationships with the communities in its catchment areas. That, he indicated, could be done through a committed application of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibilities.
He stressed the need for the company to create an enabling and serene environment for its workers.
“It is important to ensure that you have a closer and deeper relationship with the community in which you work.
“We are here to streamline and get the best practice out of this company. If you are determined to work in this country, then you must be ready to obey the rules and regulations of this country. You must work under the dictates of Act 703,” he indicated.
He assured the company of government’s focus on implementing policies and programmes that will facilitate the smooth operations of mining companies.
He, therefore, urged them to support government by adhering to the mining laws and undertaking development projects in various communities.
For his part, the Plant Manager of Big Stone, Mawulolo Kudjo Nokufou, revealed that the company has been confronted with some challenges since its operation.
He, however, noted that the Ministry’s visit is indicative of government’s interest in the company in addressing the issues expeditiously.
In another development, the Deputy Minister has called on government communicators to help promote small-scale mining for the benefit of Ghanaians. He made the call during a consultative meeting with government communicators from the Western and Western North Regions.
He urged them to demonstrate their support to the fight against illegal mining by disseminating timely and accurate information on the activities embarked on by government.
He said despite the successes chalked by government, there are huge gaps in communicating the gains.
Consequently, he implored the communicators to be committed to their duty of information sharing on policies in order to keep the public well informed.