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24.08.2005 General News

Rescure effort to is a humanitarian gesture - Chamber


Accra, Aug. 24, GNA - The Ghana Chamber of Mines says recent operations to rescue 40 small-scale miners believed to be trapped in a mine pit in the Eastern Region were done on humanitarian grounds. "We went there not because the Chamber members were under any obligation to rescue them, but only because the members were out to help fellow Ghanaians," Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, told journalists in Accra on Wednesday.

The fate of about 40 illegal miners allegedly buried when a pit caved-in at Nyanfom-Noyem in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region is still uncertain as rescue efforts were suspended. No victim was found after six days of work by the rescue team.

Addressing the press, Ms Aryee said while the Chamber was not against small-scale or artisanal mining; it was necessary that all potential miners registered with the Minerals Commission as required by law.

In this direction, she said, the Chamber was creating a category within its rank to entice local small- to medium-scale mining related companies to join the Chamber.

She said the upsurge in small-scale mining with security and environmental implications had badly dented the country's image as a stable investment destination.

"Additionally the wrong use of toxic chemicals, particularly near water bodies, and the wanton destruction of land have so created problems which have in some cases been attached to the formal industry," Ms Aryee said.

She said the Police would be unable to deal with the activities of the small-scale miners because of lack of resources, emphasising that the only alternative was to eliminate the illegal gold buyer. She said the illegal buyers paid the small-scale miners in advance forcing them to find the gold at all costs, including risking their lives.