The dubious conduct of some security professionals remains the single largest threat to the success of government’s effort to curb the ‘galamsey’ menace in the country.
Mr Sulemanu Koney, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCoM) made the observation during the opening of a two-day maiden national training programme for investigators of state security agencies and other stakeholders in the mining industry in Sunyani.
It was attended by 45 participants comprising Police investigators, judges, Military Officers and security Managers of mining companies from the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern, Western and Central Regions.
The programme, organised and sponsored by the GCoM was designed among other objectives to make the participants abreast with the mining laws to deepen their capacities and knowledge to facilitate quality investigations for effective prosecution to result to suitable judgement of mining-related cases.
Mr Koney said althoug some modest gains had been made in reducing the footprint of illegal mining, it was becoming increasingly evident that some dishonest, self-seeking elements within the security agencies were thwarting the strides made by the government and stakeholders to control and completely outlaw the challenge.
He noted that besides media reports on some officers being induced by illegal miners, the GCoM had also received a report from a member company on such concern that a superior officer ordered the release of some illicit miners who had been arrested by members of Operation Vanguard.
Mr Koney said those reports were of grave concern to the GCoM, not only because they eroded the public’s confidence in the Military but also undermined the efforts to build an orderly society.
He admitted the GCoM was unsure of the underlying factors of the conduct of some of the security personnel concerning their inducements, but surmised that it could be the result of familiarity with the illegal miners.
Mr Koney accordingly recommended that the Military and Police hierarchies and government must consider a system of rotating the Operation Vanguard personnel and assured that the GCoM would continue to support government in its quest to permanently eradicate illegal mining.
He affirmed the potential of mining to transform the country’s economic landscape if it was undertaken within the framework defined by the law.
Mr Koney indicated that data from the Minerals Commission showed that the small-scale gold mining sector accounted for a third of total gold output in 2016 but its contribution to the national fiscal purse was rather insignificant.
“It is therefore incumbent on all stakeholders to support government to reform the small-scale mining sector to harvest its enormous potential to contribute to the economy’s development through job-creation, fiscal revenue and linkages with the non-mining sector”, he emphasised.
Later, Mr John Amoanyi of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission gave overview of Ghana’s Mineral and Mining Sector whilst Mrs. Sheila Minka-Premo, Managing Consultant of Apex Law Consult in Accra took the participants through “The Minerals and Mining Act-What the Investigator needs to know”.
Other topics delivered during the training were “A Compendium of Cases and Judgements in Minerals and Mining Related Trials-The Case of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi”, by Mr. Kofi Gamor, Senior Security Manager, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi whilst Mr. George Anyema, Senior Security Manager, AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited also took the participants through “The Basics of Evidence Collection in the Mining Industry”.
Colonel Michael Opoku, Director of Operations, National Security Secretariat Council spoke on “Intelligence 101-A refresher module for all investigators” whereas “Ethics in the Mining Industry-What every state security officer must know” was handled by Mr. Richard Dery, Manager, Legal Affairs of Newmont Gold Ghana Limited.