23.03.2005 Business & Finance

Galamsey Operators plead for more time

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Tarkwa (W/R), March 23, GNA - Galamsey Operators at Prestea have appealed to the Government to defer their ejection from the concession of Bogoso Gold Limited/New Century Mine (BGL/NCM) for six months to enable them to recoup the money they have invested in their operations. Mr Emmanuel Quarm, Vice Chairman of Prestea Mining Group Committee (PMG), recalled that at a meeting with the Management of BGL/NCM in January 2003, it was agreed that Number 4 Bungalow Site should be released to PMG for small-scale mining activities so they invested a minimum of 60 million cedis into their operations.

He said their immediate ejection from the site would cause them great financial loss and stressed that further actions should be taken only after negotiations.

Mr Quarm was speaking at an emergency meeting of Opinion Leaders, Assemblymen, Unit Committee Chairmen and Leaders of Galamsey Operators at the Urban Council Hall at Prestea on Tuesday to discuss how to tackle the impending ejection of Galamsey Operators at Prestea.

He said in this era of democratic dispensation the Government should not take any action that would render the citizens jobless in order to please a multi-national company that was out make profit. Mr Albert Kwaku Obbin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Prestea / Huni Valley Constituency, appealed to the Leadership of the Galamsey Operators to play down on emotions to pave the way for amicable solution to the problem.

He said exhibiting anger during negotiations disturbed the process of arriving at an acceptable solution.

Mr Obbin, without mincing words, told them that galamsey was illegal if the operators did not register and more so if they operated on a concession without the consent of the owner of the concession and stressed the need for dialogue to arrive at an amicable solution. Mr Musah Abdulai, Chairman of Prestea Mining Group, said unnecessary tension should not be created at Prestea because the solution to the galamsey problem in Prestea lay with the people themselves.

He referred to a promise Vice President Aliu Mahama made to improve galamsey operation in the area to create jobs for the jobless during a recent political campaign tour, adding that the decision to eject the galamsey operators would render people jobless.

At the end of the meeting it was agreed that a committee made up of all Assembly members in Prestea - Himan area, two representatives of Galamsey Operators, Prestea Urban Council Chairman and Secretary should be set up to open up fresh negotiations.

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