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10 August 2017

Stop The Galamsey And Come For Proper License – Amewu Tells Shaanxi | General News

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu has stated that government will not tolerate mining companies that have secured the required licenses yet their mode of operations do not conform to laid down regulations or the reason for which those licenses were acquired.

He expressed regret that some of those companies eventually ended up evading a lot of taxes and they also failed to pay royalties on their mining concessions hence depriving the nation of the needed revenue for development purposes.

Mr Amewu stated this when he paid separate visits to the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and Cassius Mining Limited both located at Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region on Wednesday.

Suspension

The Minister further explained that his outfit temporarily suspended the operations of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited in April this year, not because the government did not “like the company neither was it because it hated the Chinese nationals who owned the company.”

“Indeed the government of Ghana is not against any foreign investor coming into the country to do business but must do so within the confines of the laid down procedures,” he stressed.

He said the directive was to enable his outfit conduct thorough investigations into why Shaanxi’s mining operations recently led to the deaths of some people in the area.

Mr Amewu pointed out that looking at the huge investments made by the Shaanxi company in equipment and other infrastructure, the company should not hide “behind the concept of providing support services to two small scale mining groups, known as the Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Mining groups, and be engaging in large scale mining activities.”

“Your methodology, practices and mode of operations in itself constitute an illegality in other words you are rather engaged in large scale mining activities instead of providing support services to the two small scale mining groups.”

The Minister noted that he was liaising with the appropriate authorities to consider reviewing their operations especially as the company had requested to now go into large scale mining so that mining was done in a more sustainable manner.

“If you have a good mining license and your methodology and practices does not conform to laid down procedures you can be described as a galamsey operator; an investment of this nature does not merit the connotation or concept of a small scale miner,” Mr Amewu further pointed out.

He observed that the inter-boundary dispute between Shaanxi and Cassius mining companies had come to his attention and that a high level meeting would be organized to resolve the issue permanently.

“I do not see why two companies cannot work together even if you are both into large scale mining; you must learn to co-exist in this environment,” he advised.

Galamsey

While commending the Shaanxi for partnering and offering services to the two small scale mining groups, the sector minister was of the view that such “marriage” had not yielded the desired results over the years.

He charged the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Bukari and the Regional Police Command to engage all illegal mining groups in the area with a view to finding ways of sealing off all the illegal mining pits and tunnels so that mining was done properly and on a more sustainable basis.

Shaanxi

The Public Relations Officer of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, Mr Maxwell Woomah gave an overview of the company’s operations since it started in 2010 and entreated the Minister to consider lifting the suspension on its operations as it was affecting the 543 employees of the company.

He also appealed to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to grant the company its request to go into large scale mining “covering the areas of interest it first applied for.”

According to Mr Woomah the company had so far invested $150 million in addressing both technical and social issues in the area, but expressed concern about the activities of illegal miners and the threats they posed to staff of the company anytime they strayed into the concession of the company.

The Director of Cassius Mining Limited, Mr James Arkoudis said his outfit was committed to ensuring good work culture, safety, Corporate Social Responsibility as well as maintaining a good working relationship with government and the communities in its catchment areas.

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