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27.04.2004 Business & Finance

Mines Department calls for end of AGC-Galamsey confrontation

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Obuasi, April 27, GNA- A Principal Mines Inspector, has said the confrontation between the Ashanti Goldfields Company (AGC) and illegal miners, often described as "galamsey" operators at Obuasi is a worry to the Mines Department.

Mr Jonathan Ahenkorah said avenues have been created for small-scale mining to go on in the country and but still illegal miners continue to have rift with the AGC.

"As for AGC concession, when we see any unauthorised operation we shall order its closure and also hold the company responsible", he warned.

The Principal Mines Inspector, however, advised the illegal miners at a meeting between the AGC and the representatives of the illegal miners at Obuasi on Monday that time has come for them to form associations and follow the procedure for the operation of small-scale mining in the country to enable them to operate without any arrests.

"The Mines Department has assisted those illegal miners in Konongo to operate without any problem because they have organised themselves into groups and have acquired the requisite license to operate.

Mr Ahenkorah therefore encouraged those at Obuasi to get themselves into associations so that appropriate agencies could assist them to acquire their own concession.

Mr Y.B. Amponsah, the AGC Administrative manager in-charge of Services, expressed appreciation about the input Mr Ahenkora had offered towards the stand of the company in closing all the illegal pits, which were being operated by the illegal miners.

"We want to co-exist and not to have confrontation with anyone, Mr Amponsah said.

He said the risk involved in the galamsey activities could not be managed by the company, since their activities are directly impacting on the company's operations.

He announced AGC's plans to sustain the livelihood of the illegal miners through farming activities.

Mr M.K. Addai, the Adansi West District Co-ordinating Director, who was present at the meeting, added that apart from the AGC arrangements, the illegal miners and the youth in the Obuasi area could access the 50 billion cedis Youth Development Fund to better their lot.