Participants at a meeting on illegal gold mining, “galamsey”, in Obuasi have accused some of the Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) security staff of allegedly encouraging the activity.
They alleged that some of the security personnel were condoning and conniving with the miners to operate in some restricted areas of the company's concession.
The meeting was attended by assembly members, chiefs, police personnel and other opinion leaders.
It was called following the impunity with which illegal miners operate in the company's underground mines and at times hold the company's workers hostage.
“They have dug several holes at the surface to link underground tunnels. By so doing, they disturb our ventilation system with its resulting risk to the lives of the miners”, Mr. Yaw Nuamah-Kutin, the Acting Asset Protection Manager of AGA, said at the meeting.
Nana Afiamoah Kotoku Bawuah I, Sansohene who set the tone for the accusations, blamed the security personnel for allegedly providing cover to some of the illegal miners to operate at sensitive areas.
While criticizing the company's employment policy for not making room for consultation with opinion leaders on matters of employment, he said they were only consulted when matters of illegal mining arise.
Nana Bawuah said he had met the Sanso community on the way illegal mining is killing some of his people and had warned the people to refrain from undertaking any illegal activity in the area.
He appealed to AGA to open a police post at those areas to ward off any prospective illegal miners.
Addressing the meeting the Obuasi Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Owusu Gyamerah, appealed to opinion leaders to help to protect the Obuasi mine since posterity would not forgive them should the mine collapse.
He wondered why with all security interventions from the military and the police, illegal miners were still having access to the company's underground mines.