Ghana: Lands Ministry Praised for Sealing illegal Pits in Gbane

An artisanal gold miner descends into a pit (file photo).

Gbane — The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Yenyeya Mining Group, Charles Taleog Ndanbon , has commended the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the sealing of the illegal pits in the Gbane community in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

Mr Ndanbon who made the commendation in an interview with the Ghanaian Times here on Monday, described the sealing of the illegal pits as the best strategy of curbing the spate of deaths of illegal miners in the area.

It would be recalled that in May this year, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources led by its Deputy Minister, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio and some staff of the Minerals Commission together with a joint military/police team supervised the sealing exercise of all the illegal pits linked to Yenyeya and Pubotaaba Mining Groups.

The five illegal pits owned by Kwesi Appiah (Kwesi Bantama), Kofi Macho and Abacazor Dani (Taller) were mostly used by illegal miners mostly the youth to link the mining pits of Yenyeya and Pubotaaba to steal gold ore resulting in frequent deaths of some illegal miners.

For instance in 2017 and 2019 respectively, 17 illegal miners were trapped in and killed as they attempted using the illegal pits to steal gold ore from the pits of the Yenyeya and Pubotaaba mining concession.

Another 16 illegal miners in the area were also trapped to death early this year prompting the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to instruct the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission to investigate the problem and come out with the appropriate recommendations to address the issue.

Among some of the recommendations made by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission after its investigation included the sealing of all illegal pits in the area.

This, however, did not go down well with the affected operators of the illegal mining pits which made them to secure an interlocutory injunction at the Bolgatanga High Court to stop the intended exercise but the court struck out the injunction.

The CEO stressed that such bold steps taken by the ministry would not only help save precious lives especially the youth but also would be a very big relief to the Yenyeya and Pubotaaba mining groups as well as the Shaanxi Mining Company which is providing technical and financial support to the Yenyeya and Pubotaaba mining groups.

Mr Ndanbon indicated that the Yenyeya and the Pubortaaba mining entities through their lobbying of the investor, the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd, into the Talensi District of the Upper East Region ensured that the company performs its corporate social responsibilities (CSRs).

He said as the hurdle had been cleared more of the communities would benefit from the CSRs of the company and also empower the company to honour its tax obligations to the mandated state institutions.

Mr Ndanbon stated for instance in the 2018 business year, the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd paid GH¢46,000.00 to the Talensi District Assembly as property and business operation permits fees in addition to payment of its royalties to the Ghana Revenue Authority , Accra , workers' SSNIT contributions among others.

He appealed for calm in the area and called on the youth who have been affected by the closure of the illegal pits to exercise restraint while the company works to engage them.

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