wpid-wpid-John-Mahama1.jpgResidents of the Saaman, Juaso and Osino in the Fanteakwa District of the Eastern Region and mining advocacy group, WACAM, have once again condemned the irresponsible mining activities being spearheaded by Solar Mining Company, a local mining company operating in the area.

The residents have therefore called on President John Dramani Mahama to, as a matter of urgency set up a commission of enquiry to institute a full-scale investigation into the activities of the two mining companies.

According to the residents, they find it extremely difficult to understand why the company has been allowed by its ?god fathers? in the region to continue to engage in irresponsible mining operations in the area since December 2008.

The spokesperson for the residents and Assembly Member for the Saaman Electoral Area, Hon. Gyeatuo Kyenkyenor Nabot, made the call while addressing a news conference in Tama, at the end of a three-day workshop on the Minerals and Mining Act, organized by WACAM for ten communities in the Fanteakwa District.

?Our President we are calling on you to intervene in this matter because our countless petitions made to WRC and EPA that the company had no EPA permit to start mining operations, Mr. Abraham used his executive position to issue the company the necessary legal environmental documents to divert the two Rivers, Akusu and Anoma to already mined zone,? they appealed.

An allegation, the Director of the Eastern Regional Water Resource Commission, Mr. Ronald Abraham has flatly denied outright.

They noted that ?Under the guise of prospecting, the company has been using the police and the military to unjustifiably harass people in the community.?

Recalling the unlawful arrest and detention of residents including the Eastern Regional police, Hon.? Gyeatuo Kyenkyenor said the worst of the abuses was the decision by the Fanteakwa District Assembly to deny people of the community their fair share of the national cake as a form of punishment for their determination to fight for their rights in not consenting to the illegal activities of the mining company.

He pointed out that under the laws of the country, before a company can undertake any mining activity, the affected community should be given the prior consent.

According to him on November 18, 2011, officials of Solar led soldiers to the community to harass the people who were demonstrating against the movement of equipment to the area.
Again, it is alleged that on December 6, 2011 the people came under another violent attack from armed soldiers led by officials of the mining company.

Again, he said on December 6, 2011 the people came under another violent attack from armed soldiers led by officials of the mining company.

He noted that indications were clear that Solar, with facilitation from the state, was bent on going ahead with its mining activities without the consent of the people, who had not engaged in any negotiation with the company, as required by law, for adequate compensation to be paid for acquisition of their farm lands that offered them a reliable source of livelihood

The visibly worried residents said Solar with the supreme support from the Eastern Regional Water Resource Commission (WRC) and Environmental Pretention Agency (EPA) had been prospecting for gold illegally in the Saaman, Juaso and Osino under the pretext of working for Kibi Goldfields Limited.

The residents noted the illegal mining operations basically involved the activities of digging big man holes along some major water bodies in the community.

Those dug-out holes, Hon. Nabot on behalf of the residents said, did not only serve as death traps but also breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

He reiterated? that since the company commenced its ?irresponsible operations in December 2008, it has diverted River Akusu and Anoma and mined in it,? adding that the company put rusted narrow iron pipes in the two rivers, until 2010 when the Eastern Regional Director of EPA, Mr. Addo- Okyere, ordered the company to remove the rusted pipes.

According him, the company dug big man-holes along the two rivers which he said do not only serve as death traps to farmers but also serve as mosquito breeding grounds.

Contaminated water from the pits, he noted, discharge into the afore-mentioned river courses, thus polluting them and making them unsafe for drinking.

He noted that Mr. Okyere upon realising in the May 2010 that Solar Mining Company had no EPA permit and mining permit ordered for the shutdown of mining operations of the company but the company unfortunately still continued with its illegal operations.

He indicated that in a recent meeting organized by the Saaman chief and his elders including the opinion leaders, a consensus was reached that Solar Mining Company/Kibi Goldfields must evacuate their mining equipment from Saaman stressing that a letter to that effect is ready to be sent to the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Samuel Odalai Lamptey.

??.It is obvious that with little rainfall the two rivers comes along with debris of mud from the diverted zone downstream, resulting in serious siltation and coloration of the only two sources of potable drinking waters denying population of over 10,0000 access to water?, they said

?We the people in Saaman are farmers who usually engage in the production of food crop such as maize, cocoyam, cassava and cocoa, but over the years the company has destroyed our natural resources and vast arable land making standard of living nothing to write home about.?

?In Saaman, cocoa farming is our business; we are able to finance our children?s education from the sales of cocoa and cash crops like oil palm. We are an agricultural community and we want to remain as farmers hence Saaman opposes surface gold alluvial mining even if Solar is issued with the necessary mining permit,? he added.



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