The Asantehene Otumfour Osei Tutu, on Thursday directed traditional rulers around the Ahafo Mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), at Kenyasi in the Brong-Ahafo Region to stop the illegal mining activities in the area with immediate effect.
He warned the chiefs that Asanteman would not deal leniently with any of them who would condone and connive with illegal miners (galamsey) within the Ashanti land.
Otumfour Osei Tutu gave the directive when he interacted with workers at the Newmont Ahafo mine and some traditional rulers in the area as part of his historic visit to the mine site at Kenyasi since Newmont started actual mining in the area in 2006.
The visit offered the Asantehene the opportunity to go around the company?s processing facilities and the main Gold House to acquaint himself with the activities of the multi-mining company.
Otumfour Osei Tutu explained that illegal mining, which had become a great challenge in the country?s mining sector, could be eradicated through collaborative efforts of chiefs and the local people.
He charged the traditional authorities to stay alert and be wary of illegal miners who might approach and entice them with money and other gifts to gain their favour to pave the way for the operators to undertake their unscrupulous activities in the communities.
The Asantehene emphasised that it was the collective responsibility of the chiefs in the area to ensure that community members within the mine benefited from development projects that would improve their lot.
Otumfour Osei Tutu cautioned some of the chiefs who squandered royalties paid to them by the mining company at the expense of community development, saying that, as the embodiment of the people, the responsibility lay on them to ensure that development thrived in the communities.
He appreciated measures put in place by management of the mine in ensuring safety and entreated the workers to strictly adhere to all the safety warnings in and around the mine site.
Otumfour Osei Tutu cautioned the workers against apathy and urged them to ensure that their standard of work correspond with their monthly salaries.
The Reverend Dr Joyce Aryee, chair of the Board of Directors of the Mine explained that Newmont was committed to operating in a responsible way by safeguarding the environment, maintaining high safety standards and contributing to the development of the mine take communities.
She also lamented about the illegal mining activities which was gradually gaining prominence within the Ahafo mine and called for a strong social alliance by all stakeholders to arrest the menace.
Rev. Dr. Aryee noted with concern that despite illegal mining and other challenges faced by the company; Newmont had accomplished a great deal since the inception of its operations and had become an important contributor to national economy.
She called on the Asantehene and chiefs of the mine host communities to assist in tackling the menace.
Mr Dave Schummer, Senior Vice President, Newmont African Region, emphasised that safe and profitable gold production remained the company mantra.
He said Newmont?s stock price had fallen 30 percent while the industry?s total costs on a per ounce basis were nearly the same as the current gold price, an indication that the company was in a serious cash crunch.
Mr Schummer emphasised that maintaining productive relations with traditional leaders and the local community members was critical to sustaining the company?s successes, adding that, the mine employed more than 1,700 employees and 3,400 contractors, with 97 percent of all employees being local people.
He pointed out that Newmont was the first mining company in the country to develop a local content strategy and had taken a leading role in developing the coherent and sustainable strategy for Ghana?s mining industry.