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21.08.2005 General News

144 million cedis spent on galamsey rescue operation


Noyem (E/R), Aug. 21, GNA - Over 144 million cedis had been spent by Newmont Company Limited and the Mines Department in the operation to identify and rescue the alleged 40 galamsey operators trapped in a pit between Noyem and Nyanfoman a week ago.

The amount accrued from the cost of the services of an excavator and a bulldozer from the BMC Mining Company based at Kenyase in the Brong Ahafo Region, which were being used by the rescue team from AngloGold Ashanti to recover the suspected bodies suspected to be trapped when a pit caved in during their illegal mining operations at Noyem in the Birim North district.

The leader of the rescue team, Mr. John Baidoo, disclosed this to newsmen at the site of the accident near Noyem on Saturday. He said the rescue team had temporarily suspended their operation since a big hole dug to recover the alleged bodies underground also began to cave in which could lead to another disaster.

Mr Baidoo said the BMC Mining Company charged between 120 and 130 dollars an hour for the services of the excavator, while the bulldozer also charged 60 dollars an hour for its operation over the past six days of their operation which had not recovered any dead body so far, adding that the two machines worked 12 hours a day.

According to him, the Dunkwa Continental Goldfield was drilling a number of holes, with a depth of 120 feet each, so that a tractor-mounted rig would use a vision camera to take pictures underground to determine whether any bodies were trapped underground for excavation work to continue.

According to Mr Odoi Akrong, a geologist of the Continental Goldfields, six holes had been drilled and four more were expected to be drilled in an area where the suspected galamsey operators were trapped for the cameras to be mounted on the holes to determine the bodies trapped underground.

The Senior Inspector of Mines at the Mines Department, Mr Obiri Yeboah Twumasi, said all available technology would be used to retrieve any dead body trapped underground.

Mr Seth Annan, a leader of one of the rescue gangs said, the activities of the excavator, the bulldozer and drilling rig have led to additional caving in of the pit.

Meanwhile, the chief of Noyem, Nana Adofo Abayie, II, advised the galamsey operators and other workers involved, to co-operate with the rescue team to complete their operation. He asked the about 24,000 people involved in the illegal mining activities in the area to regularise their operations to enhance their work.