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16.02.2007 Disaster

DEATH IN THE MINES

By (ghanaian-chronicle)

In last Wednesday's edition of The Chronicle, we carried the story of an accident that befell three illegal miners, also known as 'galamseyers', leading to them sustaining serious burns during an underground operation they were undertaking.

The three had spoken to newsmen from their hospital beds on Tuesday. On the same day, an Anglo Gold Ashanti Obuasi mine team had retrieved the dead body of another illegal miner from one of their underground mines.

In our September 13, 2006 edition, we carried the lamentations of an illegal mineworker, who had been paralyzed following an accident he encountered while exploring one of Anglo Gold Ashanti's abandoned mines at Obuasi.

Unfortunately, in spite of the seriousness of injuries sustained through these accidents, the illegal miners seem not to be deterred and continue their operations with impunity.

So far, the sanctions meted out to those arrested and prosecuted also seem not to be deterrent enough.

There is the need therefore for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies within the mining communities to take serious measures at engaging the youth, who normally engage in these activities to let them appreciate the dangers they expose themselves to, through the 'galamsey' operations.

It is the hope of The Chronicle that when sustainable employment-generating activities have been created in the mining communities, the youth would have no reason to use the lack of employment opportunities as justification for living dangerously through illegal activities.

The relationship between the youth in mining communities and the mining companies in general, have not been anything to write home about.

This sour relationship has often led to the youth seeing the companies, which are mainly foreign owned, as intruders and therefore nothing wrong with encroaching on the concessions to take a little of what they think is rightfully theirs.

Even as they deplore the terms under which mining concessions are granted foreign companies, environmental and other activists interested in seeing to the welfare of the people in mining areas must join to sound the alarm bells to save the youth from death in the mines.

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