Lands Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting mining companies as he condemns the invasion of the AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi mine shaft by illegal miners.
The suspects barricaded themselves in the deep pit searching for gold, resulting in a clash between security agencies and some angry youth. The situation has raised serious security concerns about the survival of licensed mining firms whose operations are being threatened by illegal miners.
Speaking to journalists after leading a delegation on a fact-finding mission to the Obuasi township, Lands Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor said his outfit is determined to ensure that mining companies work without interference from illegal miners.
“I want to underscore the importance of this asset to the economy of this country… I should say so forcefully that it is the government’s policy that AngloGold’s concession be protected through any legal means… People are not allowed to invade or attack the concession of AngloGold mine. If they are found to have done so, they will be arrested and prosecuted.
“We recognize that we need to find alternative means of employment and livelihoods for the youth of Obuasi, and we are working with AngloGold and other stakeholders, including responsible community mining, to do just that. However, there is no justification for using lack of unemployment as an excuse to illegally attack the concession of AngloGold Ashanti,” he stated.
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.
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.