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20.12.2005 Regional News

Fifty pits sunk by small-scale miners sealed

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Obuasi (Ash), Dec. 20, GNA - A team of miners and security personnel of AngloGold Ashanti have carried out an exercise to seal up more than 50 pits sunk by small-scale miners in the active operational area of the Company.

The two-day operation was carried out after the Management of AngloGold Ashanti, security personnel and the press had inspected the area.

It was found out that, the small-scale miners were using explosives, hacksaws, hammers, cutlasses, offensive and sophisticated weapons in their activities.

Again, the inspection revealed that, they were operating very close to the Company's underground mines. "They have been digging holes and pits and in some cases gone to the extent of linking up with some of the operating levels of the mines. And as a result of that they have been confronting some of the Company's miners underground ", Mr Kwesi Enyan, General Manager Mining, said. "The site we visited for example was a few metres from the Volta River Authority (VRA) sub-station, which is our main source of power supply," he said.

He expressed concern about the way small-scale miners were harassing the Company's workers saying; "our workers do not have the freedom to operate due to the activities of the galamseyers". Mr Enyan said, if the miners were not stopped from operating around the area, they might accidentally cut through the Company's main source of power and thereby create a blackout and production problems. It was discovered that the galamseyers had gone further to mechanize their operations by way of ensuring that the entrance to their pits were locked up with padlocks and had improved the ventilation in the pits.

When the GNA talked to some of the affected miners they said the Company should have given them foreknowledge of their planned destruction of the pits. They said the timing of the destruction was calculated to make them to spend a bleak Christmas.

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