24 May 2019

Ghana: 'Bring Back Soldiers to Fight Against Galamsey'

Nkroful — The acting Mine Manager of the Nzema Mine, Alhaji Ibrahim Halilu Mohammed, has called for the return of the military to ward off illegal miners, popularly known as 'galamsey', from mining areas.

He said galamseyers had undermined the operations of the mine, at the Ellembelle District of the Western Region.

Alhaji Mohammed made the call on Tuesday, when he briefed the board members of the Minerals Commission, led by the Chairman, Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, on challenges of his outfit, during a visit to the Nzema Mine, to familiarise themselves with operations there.

"The increasing galamsey has affected mining exploration, and the security and safety of our investments. The withdrawal of the military is a concern. We appeal to the government to reconsider bringing back the military to ward off illegal miners," Alhaji Mohammed stressed.

The Mine Manager said exploration targets showed positive outcomes for the mine, explaining that helicopter airborne geographic survey completed on the Nzema Mine in 2018, over a space of 5,200 km, defined 21 targets across the entire concession and 14 others.

Ahaji Mohammed said, "Priority area is to focus on the Salman corridor with the highest potential to deliver quick remnants of oxide resources, to drive the extension, as we also conduct test gaps along the Teberu-Salman North Akango 'mineralised' trends. Economic assessment is also in progress on how to assess the pit bottom at the Nfutu main pit development."

He said that $11.3 million had been paid as compensation to local farmers, and another 800 farmers were supported to 'restore' their livelihoods.

Ahaji Mohammed said the Nkroful partial resettlement project, involving 113 two basic schools, teachers' quarters, a church and a mosque, were completed in 2018.

He said the Teleku-Bokazo resettlement project, involving 357 residential and 13 public structures, healthcare facility, a library, chief's palace, a market, electrical power connections, potable water and a community centre were completed.

On community investment, he said that $12 million had been allocated to three host communities, and the Nzema Mine has funded an 'Accelerated Action to Improve Maternal and New Born Survival' programme in the Ellembelle District.

"Two-hundred and twenty eight students from the local communities have benefitted from scholarships. The mine in partnership with the Australian High Commission has trained 198 youth in technical and vocational skills. We have also provided water and sanitation facilities for communities and institutions," Alhaji Mohammed said.

At the processing plant, the Process Manager, Anthony Nyamekye, briefed the board members on gold ore processing from mill through the silos to the main plant.

Responding to the Nzema Mine complaint, Mr Boafo said cabinet had met to discuss the matter, and a decision on it would be announced soon.

He advised mining companies to improve their local content policies, suggesting that they "should consider Ghana as your own and once you do that there will be value addition".


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