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01 August 2017

Owere Mines accused of selling concessions to illegal miners

The staff of Owere Mines are blaming administrators of the company for the thriving illegal mining on the company’s concessions.

They accuse the leadership of the mining firm of leasing part of the company’s concession to small-scale miners, further attracting illegal miners.

About a week ago two people died when an illegal mining pit on part of the company’s concession collapsed at Patriensa, leaving several others injured.

The Owere Mines which owns about 125 kilometers square of concession ceased operations about three years ago due to lack of investment funds for exploration.

However, gradually, portions of the company’s property are being taken over by illegal miners, even when government’s ban on illegal mining is still in force.

Security personnel engaged to protect the concession appear helpless.

The staff are concerned, as even in the full glare of military personnel at Kumaduosea, for instance, illegal miners continue to carry out their activities unhindered.

Local Secretary of the Ghana Mines Association, Francis Owusu, says a claim by management Owere Mines that proceeds from the lease of their concession to small-scale miners are used to maintain the mine is untenable.

“People in this community think the mine has collapsed because of galamsey activities being perpetrated by our own administrators”, he added.

Company Administrator, George Frimpong, has, however, denied the allegation, insisting the mine is doing everything possible to deal with the menace.

“This has been a very hectic hurdle for the mines when you move the security to a location to stop them they move to another location”, he said. 

Meanwhile, some workers are threatening to picket at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources over unpaid salaries.

They say they are still awaiting a response from the government, despite filing a petition months ago.

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