The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has reaffirmed government’s full commitment to protecting Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi Mine in its bid to ensure responsible and environmentally-sound small scale mining in Obuasi.
The Minister gave the assurance yesterday when he paid a working visit to Obuasi a week after some illegal miners allegedly invaded Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi Mine’s concession and got trapped in the mine shaft.
This has led to a clash between the security in the Municipality and some irate youth of the town.
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,” he said.
The Minister stressed the need for scale-scale miners to respect the laws of the country, and ensure that they operate legally and responsibly in accordance with laid down procedures.
He also noted that government was not against small scale mining, but will not condone illegal mining of any sort that disregards mining laws of the country.
He reiterated the commitment of government to protecting AngloGold’s Obuasi Mine and every licensed mining firm in the country. The Minister emphasized the crucial economic importance of the AngloGold Obuasi Mine to the country.
He observed that illegal mining activities had contributed to the Mine being put under care and maintenance in 2016.
He, however, noted that through the instrumentality of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Mine was brought back to life in 2019. It is in that regard that the Minister 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 indicated.
Mr. Jinapor noted 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 examine, among other responsibilities, 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.
Assurance by AngloGold
The management of AngloGold Ashanti thanked the Minister for his interest in the matter, assuring that all 86 illegal miners who went underground had come out and were currently in police custody.
They pledged their commitment to work with Government to ensure a healthy collaboration between the company and the community.
The Minister’s visit was aimed at assessing the situation on the ground, and engaging the various stakeholders involved in the impasse. He also 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.