From Kwesi Alfred Adams, Takoradi
Mining companies operating in the country reportedly met the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asoma-Cheremeh, last week Friday, to complain about the withdrawal of soldiers from their mining sites, as directed by Cabinet some time ago.
Following the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining, which led to the formation of Operation Vanguard, which comprises personnel of both the military and police, to enforce the ban on illegal mining, Cabinet decided to withdraw all military personnel providing security at the mine sites of all the giant mining companies.
But, during the meeting with the Minister, the mining companies strongly argued that the decision was seriously affecting their operations, and that illegal miners had virtually taken over their legitimately acquired concessions and competing with them for the precious mineral.
They, therefore, wanted the government to rescind the decision and post the soldiers back to their mining sites to guard their operations, and protection of their concessions from invaders.
In response, Mr Kwaku Asoma-Cheremeh told the mining giants that since the decision was taken by Cabinet, there was nothing he could do to reverse it, and that he would carry their concerns to Cabinet for consideration.
Meanwhile, the Acting General Manager of the Adamus Mining Company, in the Ellembelle Municipality of the Western Region, Ibrahim Halilu Mohammed, has told the board members of the Minerals Commission, headed by Mr S.K. Boafo, that illegal miners had invaded the concession of the company.
According to him, Adamus had ceded a portion of its concession to the illegal miners, who are mostly from their host communities, but they (galamseyers) had deserted the ceded concession and were now mining for gold on that of the company.
According to him, two of his security guards who were trying to prevent the illegal miners from entering the concession of the company were slashed with cutlasses.
He showed pictures of the injuries sustained by the two security guards to the Minerals Commission board members, who had called on him at the mining site.
“This is a serious issue and something must be done about it,” he said.
Since the directive to withdraw the military personnel came from Cabinet, Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo said there was nothing he and his members could do.
A member of the Board, on his part, said he was aware of the invasion issue at the various mining sites in the country.
According to the Board Member, he attended a meeting held between the mining companies and the sector Minister in Accra, where the former pleaded with the Minister for the return of the soldiers.
Earlier, the Acting Adamus General Manager had told the board members that his outfit had contributed tremendously to the development of the national economy since 2019, in the form of taxes and royalties.
According to him, the company has so far paid $104 million in the form of taxes, whist that of their corporate responsibility sums up to $4 million within the same period – 2009-2019.