In a statement, the Chamber also urged government to immediately return the Military to AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi to protect life and property on the mine in order to restore investor confidence and attract the necessary investment into the mining sector.
The statement signed by Mr Sulemanu Koney, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, further urged the President John Dramani Mahama to urgently deal with the perennial incident of invasion of the concessions of large scale mining companies during election years by illegal miners.
“The country stands to lose heavily if the activities of the illegal miners are allowed to fester ahead of the election in 2016. There is a clear and present danger to our environment and to Ghana’s economy as illegal miners fight large-scale mining companies for concessions obtained legally,” Mr Koney said
“This in itself breeds a sense of insecurity and fear among investors which will cause a slowdown in investment to the country’s mineral resources,” he added.
The statement said all the efforts instituted by the Minerals Commission to attract investment into the minerals sector would come to naught if the government did not put in place the needed security measures to prevent an imminent loss of investor confidence in the country, which comes with the risk of some companies cutting investments.
It said over the years, mining companies received support from the National Security Committee on Lands and Natural Resources in addressing the encroachment of their concessions by illegal miners.
However, there are pockets of illegal miners that continue to encroach on the concessions of companies in spite of the interventions of the state.
This illegality deprives duly licensed companies of the opportunity to exploit the inherent mineral resources more safely and prudentially while it creates additional costs for the companies for rehabilitating the land.
“Honestly, the country earns nothing from the activities of these illegal miners. Only a few unscrupulous individuals benefit from it,” the statement said, adding that apart from projecting a bad image for the entire mining sector, the repercussions to the environment are ominous. If the activities of the illegal miners are not nipped in the bud it would undermine Ghana’s efforts at sustaining and attracting the much needed investment into the mining industry,” he stated.
Companies such as AngloGold Ashanti – Obuasi Mine in recent weeks and Perseus Mining at Ayanfuri in recent months, have seen an escalation of activities of illegal miners on their concessions.
These companies who employ thousands of Ghanaians are compelled to use all legal means to eject the miners from their concessions with the help of the security apparatuses.
This has sometimes resulted in violent confrontations leading to injuries and destruction running into millions of dollars.AngloGold Ashanti has particularly been inundated by the illegal miners resulting in their inability to attract investors to partner them in revamping the mine. The recent surge in illegal mining activities at the Obuasi mine has been violent, leading to the death of one of the company’s senior employees, and follows the withdrawal of the military contingent that had been stationed at the mine.