…As MLNR & Minerals Commission Look Away
In spite of the barrage of media and official reports made by some of the industry players to the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources(MLNR) and the Minerals Commission (MinCom) about the illegal operations of a Chinese company called, Shaanxi in the Upper East, these state institutions appears not to be bothered for whatever their reasons or motivations are.
This Chinese company went to the Upper East sometime in 2008 with a Mine Support Service certificate to assist two small scale mining companies namely Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Mining Groups whom they had entered into agreement with to provide mine support services.
The mine support services were supposed to cover only the restricted areas of a two 25acre lands totally up to 50acres which belonged to the Groups mentioned above but because of the nature of their sophisticated machinery and the deep-mine shaft used, the Chinese are currently working on several hundreds of acres beneath the surface of the 50acres.
Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company, which commands a work force of over six hundred as stated by the company’s own PRO Maxwell Wamba on Top Radio in Accra during an interview a couple of weeks ago, and can also boast of some five giant deep-mine shafts on different locations on and outside of their own 50acre land could obviously not be doing any form of small scale but a large scale mining except that they don’t have large scale mining license to do so of which the MNRL and MinCom are very much aware but appears to have turned a blind eye to this nefarious activities for whatever ‘motivation or inspiration’.
Because of the nature of Shaanxi’s deep shaft mining, when they go underground they veer into the concession of the indigenes and that is when the clashes occur as happened few weeks ago. This clandestine operations of the Chinese at Gbane in the Talensi district had led to series of accusations of trespass and encroachment and in some instances resulting into clashes which had caused the loss of lives of some indigenes of the town.
The most shocking and yet intriguing matter is how Shaanxi(Pubortaaba and Yenyeya) has managed to continue to mine up to date in the clear view of MLNR and MinCom even when there is still a ban on small scale mining in the whole of Ghana.
In 2014, the Unique Mining Group(small scale) made official complaint to the Minerals Commission over Shaanxi’s trespassing on their concession upon which a team of investigators were constituted comprising of Technical and mining Inspectors from the Commission, one geologist and two surveyors from Unique Mining as well as the Chinese own five member technical team and it turned out that the Chinese(Shaanxi) has actually trespassed and entered 208.91 feet into Unique’s concession and yet the Commission did nothing about it in terms of Unique’s request for compensation.
Again, theMinneralsCommission(MinCom) had remained tight lipped on its own commissioned independent investigation report by a United Kingdom company called SRK Consulting Limited last year July 2017 which indicted Shaanxi for trespassing into the site or concession of another company called Cassius Mining Limited.
In a vivid Daily Graphic report on Mr Amewu’s first visit to Shaanxi site in August 10, 2017 captioned, “Stop the galamsey and Come For Proper License – Amewu Tells Shaanxi”, the then sector Minister is quoted in the Nation’s foremost journal saying thus;
“Shaanxi should not hide behind the concept of providing support services to two small scale mining groups, known as the Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Mining groups, and be engaging in large scale mining activities.”
“Your methodology, practices and mode of operations in itself constitute an illegality in other words you are rather engaged in large scale mining activities instead of providing support services to the two small scale mining groups.”
Meanwhile, all through the ban on small scale mining, 19 men from the Ghana police are stationed on the Shaanxi site providing 24-hour protection to the Chinese while they mine and cart away several tons of gold.
This was confirmed by the Upper East Regional police commander, ACP Ampofo Duku, in his recent interview on an Accra based radio station called Top Fm, he admitted that there is a police post at the Shaanxi site but argued that though he can’t mention the number of policemen on their site the figure of 19 as being bandied around is not correct.
… Stay Tuned
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Peter Amewu (in smock) and his entourage touring some facilities at the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited at Gbane in the Upper East Region