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17.08.2005 General News

Media urged to avoid speculations on trapped galamsey operators


Noyem (E/R), Aug. 17, GNA - The Deputy Minister for Mines and Forestry, Ms Rita Teni Iddi, has urged the media to avoid speculations about the number of "galamsey" (small-scale miners) operators trapped in a pit near Noyem and allow the rescue team to complete its operations to come out with the exact number of casualties.

She said media speculations about the large number of casualties was causing panic among the public who had been visiting the area daily to know the fate of their relatives and friends.

Ms Iddi was addressing "galamsey" operators at the site of the accident when she paid a surprise visit to the rescue team near Noyem in the Birim North District on Wednesday.

She said the government would not deprive them of their livelihood and advised them to adopt the right method of operation by registering with the Minerals Commission for training and the needed technical assistance to enable them to operate efficiently.

The Deputy Minister commended the police, AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont Ghana Limited and the MP for the area, Miss Esther Dapaah, for their co-operation and efforts in the rescue operations. Meanwhile, the rescue team had recovered no dead body for the past four days after digging to a depth of about 100 feet.

According to Mr Seth Annan, a leader of one of the rescue gangs from Tarkwa, the collapsed area contained four pits which could accommodate between five and six people each so about 24 people could be trapped under- ground and not 40 as being speculated in some media. The Deputy Inspector of Mines, Mr Obiri Yeboah Twumasi, said an additional excavator was being brought from Tarkwa to enhance the operation of the rescue team.

The District Chief Executive for Birim North, Nana Acquah Frempong, said the Assembly and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had given the needed assistance to enhance their operations.