Government, through the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, has shutdown the operations of Ganhe Mining Company Limited, a Chinese mining firm operating in Wassa Abreshia in the Western Region.
The temporal shutdown of the mining firm, followed the discovery that the company was actually not mining, but rather engaged in dubious mining activities that run contrary to the license obtained from the Minerals Commission.
THE SHOCKING DISCOVERY
Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, who paid a surprise visit to the company, made the shocking discovery and immediately ordered the company to stop operations.
In line with swift action, he immediately called for a temporal shutdown of the mining firm to allow the Ministry to investigate circumstances surrounding the unlawful conduct of the mining company
“Per our books in Accra, they are working, but when we got here, we saw that they were not working at all. Some times they buy (rich stones ) , they toll from other concessions here, which is even not permissible by law and by their certificate or by their permit, so we have asked them to stop whatever activities, whether in any shape or form as far as mining is concerned” the Deputy Minister declared.
George Mireku Duker explained, that the Ministry had ordered security officers in the area, to police the premises of the company whilst investigations into the conduct of the company commences to rectify the abnormalities.
“We would ask the security agencies to come over to ensure this directive is adhered to, moreover, the communities around aren’t also aware that they are not operating to manage their expectations, because, once you operate, you need to adhere to your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and if you are not adhering too, the communities would come after you, and anywhere i go, I continue to tell the mining companies to continuously engage respective impactful communities.
The Ministry, he said is also very concerned about these impactful mining communities because, they host the mines. “If i say impactful communities, i mean the communities their (mining companies) operations affect”.
Responding to what necessitated the surprise visit to the mining company, he said, “We have dedicated some few weeks to be visiting the mining companies to abreast ourselves practically with the issues on the ground. I have been to Ahafo, I have been to Ashanti Region, today, we are in Western Region, more specifically at Ganhe to find out how they are operating, the things that they are doing, whether they would be guided by our technical officers” he stressed.
On relationship between mining companies and their host communities, he emphasized that there ought to be an absolute healthy partnerships in the mining industry.
“If you engage, it would reduce this kind of invasion of mining communities or concessions and all that. It would reduce them drastically.
I am also advocating that companies or concessionairs must form or develop partnerships or synergies, they must have people who would be ready to support them, mining is capital intensive venture and therefore, there must be the need to form partnerships if you don’t have the financial wherewithal to do so, otherwise you cannot take a concession for a decade without mining because of capital consequences.
If you secure the concession, you need to partner with someone who also has the financial muscle to support you and if you do that, you would have more operational concessions in Ghana.
On creation of jobs, he said “The more we have operational concessions, the more Ghanaians get to be engaged and we have unemployed teaming youth out there who are seeking for jobs”.
Turning his attention on the conduct of Ganhe, he said “We can’t have a lucrative concession like this sitting idle for close to a decade, no, we will not tolerate that, if we see that you are not able to maintain your concession, we would revoke your license, give it to some one who is ready to mine and who is ready to invest, to kind of reduce the exploration task which is being considered, so we can’t reduce the exploration task whilst continously sit idle.
He encouraged investors to take advantage of the business environment “Let’s work in tandem as a government and investors, you also must be ready to operate that concession”.
On new developments to streamline activities within the industry, he revealed “We have asked the Minerals Commission to furnish us with all those who have secured concessions and have abandoned them for more than a decade, those concessions would be looked at and if possible, terminated, and licenses revoked and given to especially those who would make use of those concessions meaningfully”
RESPONSE FROM GANHE
Reacting to the shutdown of the mining firm, Amoako Louis Osafo, Administrative Manager and Chief Interpreter of Ganhe mining company limited said it was unfortunate it occurred.
“I feel so bad about it because you know, this company is what we depend on to do certain things you know that happen in our lives, and if such things happen, it gets us worried, we can’t disobey, so we would just hold on, meet him for the necessary meetings and know what to do. You know the way forward, things are going to be fine”
On issues confronting the operations of the company, he revealed “Some of our challenges are, you know when you were coming, you happened to pass through the road to our site, the “gallamseyers” (illegal miners) are worrying us a lot. We, as a mining company must always be on the road preparing it , using excavators, bulldozers, trucks that would convey the rocks to the road side and then also our ores, we have difficulties conveying them, and also encroachers, villagers around encroached a lot into our land and that also is a challenge because where we need to do our work, we always encounter problems with them. So, we urge or plead with the Ministry to come to our aid and help” he submitted.
By: Zambaga Rufai Saminu | Metrotvonline.com | Ghana