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15.08.2005 General News

Fate of some 40 illegal miners still uncertain


Accra, Aug. 15, GNA - The fate of about 40 illegal miners at Nyanfom-Noyem in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region is still uncertain as a team from Anglogold Ashanti works around the clock to rescue them from a pit that caved in as they dug for gold. The pit, which caved in on Thursday, is believed to have at least 40 illegal miners, who had been operating on a concession belonging to Newmont Mining Ghana.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency Business Desk in Accra on Monday, Ms Mawuena Dumor, Communications Manager of Newmont Ghana, confirmed that they had been informed about the accident and said they saw the current case as a humanitarian one and would work to it.

She said no death had been confirmed and no bodies had been found in the area. "We only have heard media reports of one body in a pit, which is yet to be confirmed."

She said the accident was reported to the Company during one of their informal interactions with the communities last Thursday. "We then quickly informed our partners in the industry and Anglogold Ashanti, who have rich experience in rescue operations, were called in to support. They got to the scene at about 1500 hours on Friday and started work immediately."

Ms Dumor said they were relying solely on the Mines Department to facilitate the process, "but we are providing all the support to facilitate the work of the rescue team which is going on in shifts." She said the company was in direct contact with the Regional Mines Inspector on steps taken so far and what was required to facilitate the rescue operation.

Ms Dumor said from a technical point the work of members of the rescue team was very delicate as they were required to protect the lives of the illegal miners as well as their own lives.