SMALL SCALE MINERS AT TARWA DISREGARD FREEZE ON MINING
| Updated Jul 20, 2017 at 6:00pm
The Chinese Miners on the site
The tunnel that has the monitoring room
A close-up shot of the tunnel
A group of small scale miners at Tarkwa in the Western Region have questioned the rationale behind the moratorium on small scale miners with licences saying it is going to deprive them of their livelihood. The group which says it is registered under the name Small Scale Miners Association were found to be busily engaged in mining a few metres from the venue where a validation exercise on the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project was taking place.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu, who was part of the meeting together with other participants quickly had to leave to the site when they were informed of the mining activity. On reaching the site, they were surprised to see an old mining pit that is very well resourced with a control room that had cameras monitoring those who approached the precincts. Electricity was connected to the pit. A group of Chinese miners were busily engaged together with their Ghanaian counterparts.
There was some confusion as the Ghanaians argued that they were not engaged in illegal activity because they had relevant permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.
One of the Ghanaian miners said they pay as much 120 thousand Ghana Cedis every month for electricity and disagreed with the freeze. The colleagues joined in with reasons why they cannot stop mining because the pit is flooded if it is left unattended to.
The Minister of Lands expressed concern about the way the group paid no heed to the moratorium directives and wondered why such an activity should be carried out without the necessary safety measures.
He was disappointed that the Electricity Company was supplying power to such an entity when they should not be doing so and said he will bring it to the notice of the Minister of Energy in Accra. To Mr. Amewu, the ECG was helping an illegal activity.
According to GBCONLINE correspondent Joyce Gyekye, it was a tense situation as the team participating in the validation exercise tried to explain the moratorium and attendant issues to the miners as the latter group openly showed annoyance.
The Chinese miners were arrested and handed over to the police.