Obuasi (Ash), April 13, GNA - Ashanti Goldfields Company (AGC) has in a two-day operations on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, closed down a total of 50 illegal mining pits at Blackie Old Open Pit at Sansu and the Anyinam Cut Four Area. Each pit was about 46 metres deep.
The operation came two days after the shareholders had endorsed the implementation of the merger of Ashanti Goldfields with AngloGold and to get rid of intruders of the company's concessions. About 1,000 illegal mining operators had over the recent years posed a lot of problems to AGC.
The exercise, which was carried out by a combined team of the military, police and AGC Special Services Division (SSD) staff accompanied by a team of pressmen, would be extended to other parts of the company's concessions where illegal mining activities were going on. The team was led by Colonel Oduro Kwarteng (rtd), Head of SSD, Mr K.A. Boateng, Obuasi Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Bob Ayalingo, the Obuasi Distict Police Commander and Mr Y.B. Amponsah, AGC Administrative manager in-charge of services.
The operations were carried out peacefully without any incidents. Speaking to the press after the exercise, Colonel Oduro Kwarteng said the illegal miners cashed in after the company had ceased working on the open pits following surface mining operations in those areas. He said the operations had become necessary because of the depth the illegal miners had reached.
"Now they have dug to a level where they have access to AGC normal mining activities underground", he said, adding that the fear was that some workers of the company might connive with the illegal miners and thereafter sneak through the illegal pits.
Colonel Oduro Kwarteng commended the AGC underground patrol team for noticing the illegal pits as well as the illegal miners for action to be taken.
Mr Amponsah said the fact remained that the concession did not belong to the illegal miners and that the exercise was to bring complete sanity to the areas.