Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku
Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku

Says Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku

By Jack Adom

Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku
Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku

Concerned with growing insecurity in the mining communities and the role of the industry in the national economy, the government will continue to support the police and the military to flush-out activities of illegal mining in the country.

?If you want to engage in mining, you don?t have to be lawless and violent; all that you have to do is to go through the legal processes and secure your license before you start your operation?.

This was said by the Hon. Eric Opoku ? the outgoing Ashanti Regional Minister when he visited the Obuasi mine today to acquaint himself with the operation and the security challenges confronting it.

Accompanied by several Municipal & District Chief Executives in the region, Hon. Opoku warned that the military/police anti-illegal mining operations in the mining communities which started last year is far from over and that more personnel will be sent to Obuasi and other areas to deal with illegal miners still operating violently with total disregard to the laws and regulations of the industry.

Shocked by the use of explosives by illegal miners working irresponsibly in the underground workings of the Obuasi mine, the regional minister warned that the government will investigate the mode of acquisition and use of? these powerful explosives, adding that those behind it will be thoroughly investigated and so they can face the full rigours of the law.

Hon. Opoku said the Ashanti Regional administration is talking to some mining companies to cede part of their marginal concessions to support the development of small scale mining and assured that this is at its beginning as it will take time and advised potential small scale miners to shun violence and illegalities and make sure they are legally registered.

Given the importance of AngloGold Ashanti?s Obuasi mine to the local and national economy, the minister reiterated that full force will be unleashed on all the renegade illegal miners who are still operating underground and called on the local police to even do more to ensure they are brought to book.

The regional minister also commended AngloGold Ashanti management for their economic and social interventions especially the Malaria Control Programme which has literally saved thousands of Ghanaians from death.

Encouraged by the significant reduction of illegal miners on Obuasi concession, Mr. Fred Attakumah ? Acting Managing Director of Obuasi Mine commended the government,? notably the President of Ghana, His Excellency John Mahama, for deploying the anti-illegal mining taskforce to the Obuasi Municipality and urged the regional minister and other stakeholders to expand and sustain the security operation.

Mr. Attakumah informed the minister that the Obuasi mine is facing several challenges which have necessitated a change of strategy to ensure that the 117-year old mine is transformed into a modern operation to recapture its former glory as the leading mine in the country. He said management has started discussions with government and other stakeholders on the new plan and at the appropriate time, the relevant details will be made known to all concerned.

On the specific issue of illegal mining activities, Mr. Attakumah expressed grave concern about recent escalations observed on the mine whereby firearms and explosives were now being used by illegal miners against the mine?s employees, and called for immediate intervention by government to curb the situation given the potential implications it had for the security and viability of the mine as well as security at the national level.

The Honourable Minister reassured the AngloGold Ashanti team of government?s support and assistance to ensure safe and secure operations at the mine.

Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku

Ashanti Regional Minister George Opoku

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