The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu has ordered for the permanent closure of all illegal mining pits in Gbane mining site of the Talensi District of the Upper East Region to prevent loss of lives and curb the menace of Galamsey.
The Minister disclosed this during a working visit to Shaanxi Mining Company Limited on Thursday, after ordering for the temporary suspension of the company’s operations following the death of some miners in the area.
“I have listened to your (Shannxi Mining company) case carefully, and I am directing that, the Upper East Regional Minister Rockson Bukari in collaboration with the Regional commander of police DCOP Vincent Redeemer take immediately steps to make sure that, they block those illegal shafts that are used to invade the mines of Shaanxi”.
He added: “It is the interest of the same individuals who use these illegal shafts to invade the mines because by doing so, some of the mines we understand collapse and trap people and people are put in their own risk because my understand is that, some of these pits are built in the various homes”.
Mr. Amewu reiterated that, though government was not against mining, it would not relent on its duty to revoke licenses and sanction mining firms who flaws the laws governing mining in Ghana.
“The Shannxi Mining company has been put on suspension, the suspension was not because government don’t like the company, Ghana is not against Chinese doing business in Ghana but so long as you refuse to abide by the terms and regulations that mandates you to undertake mining activities, government will always be against you because we want things to be done in a more sustainable manner”.
There are lots of criteria that makes your mining regulated or unregulated. If you have a good mining license and your mining methodology does not conform to the lay down practices, you are equally describing a galamsey operator. So we are here to go through the mine and examine your operations and advise”.
“You (Shaanxi mining company) comingle two small mining blocs and being describe as a small scale mining company that on itself is an illegality. You hide under the small scale mining and you operate a large scale mining thus evading tax, royalty and other benefits to government because your equipments and capacities can be applied to any large scale mining, so why don’t you apply for large scale mining license”. Mr. Amewu stated.
The PRO of Shaanxi Mining company Maxwell Wooma told Citi News, management of Shaanxi mining company had applied to the Minerals Commission for large scale mining license in 2013 in conformance with standard practice.