The Ghana Chamber of Mines, which represents the interests of mine companies, urged President John Dramani Mahama in a statement to urgently turn his attention to the perennial incident of illegal miners invading concessions of large-scale mining companies during election year.
The statement came a week after the death of Communications Manager for AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) in an anti-illegal mining operation at Obuasi.
The Chamber blamed the recent death of the AGA official on the fact that the mining firm had particularly been inundated by illegal miners contributing to its inability to attract investors to partner it to revamp its operations.
“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,” it said.
There has been hue and cry in the country as activities of illegal miners have resulted in the destruction of vital water bodies, which were sources of raw water for both domestic and industrial use.
The statement pointed out that the country earned nothing from the activities of these illegal miners, as the government was losing significant amounts of fiscal revenue every year.
The West African country earned 4.5 billion U.S. dollars from the export of gold in 2014, according to the Minerals Commission, but lower prices for the yellow metal in 2015 could reduce the earnings.
The Chamber listed companies such as AngloGold Ashanti-Obuasi Mine and Perseus Mining at Ayanfuri, which have seen an escalation of activities of illegal miners on their concessions in recent past.
“These companies who employ thousands of Ghanaians are compelled to use all legal means to eject the illegal miners from their concessions with the help of the security apparatus. This has often resulted in violent confrontations leading to injuries and destruction of property,” it said. Enditem