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Pressure Group (SJM) urges gov't to take a relook into mining laws

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A Pressure Group, called The Social Justice Movement, (SJM), says government must come again on mining laws to help prevent further loss of lives in the country.

The deaths of small scale miners on the 23rd January 2019 in Gbane of the Talensi District, puts to shame the claim by government that they have implemented the necessary conditions for safer mining and that heavy Chinese equipment that have contributed to the country’s environmental disaster will not be used.

This was contained in a press release by the convenors of the SJM, Richard Asueme and Nyeya Yen in Bolgatanga, following the mine explosion in Gbane.

The statement indicated that, the magnitude of 17 prolific Ghanaians losing their lives as a result of gold mining leaves much to be desired.

It added that, the scale of these deaths in Gbane and other mining communities in the country brings into question the lifting of the ban on small scale mining in Ghana that took effect on 18th December 2018.

The statement said, much as the SJM sympathise and support the people who are into small scale mining due to the need to support themselves and their families, it has to question an economic system that makes it possible for people to risk their lives just for survival.

The statement stated that, a Research Report on the Impact of Chinese Gold Mining in Ghana by the International Growth Centre, IGC, by Gordon Crawford and Co. indicated that, Shaanxi Mining Company is purported to providing technical support to two small scale miners including Yenyeya Mining Group and Purbotabaa Mining Group.

However, it is clear that, not those owned the concessions that are mining the gold, but rather Shaanxi Mining Company under dubious contractual agreement.

The statement added that, based on the disasters that are happening across the country and its implications for the environment, SJM believe that small scale miners can be organized in a better way to mine our gold in order to protect the environment.

The SJM recommend that the government should take over the mining areas and organise the people to operate the mines with strict environmental guidelines, rather than small scale miners to operate as they wish.

The SJM believe that if this is properly done and controlled by the state, it will guarantee safer mining.

It said, this will offer decent living conditions to people around the mining communities instead of the present exploitative way in which small-scale mining is undertaken.

Though SJM commends the Mineral Commission for the suspension of Shaanxi Mining Company from mining, once the dust settles, the company will be back and it would be business as usual.

SJM revealed that Chinese Mining companies and other foreign companies have extensive friends in governments, feudal authorities and important security operatives of the state that makes them cause murder and go scot free.

The SJM stressed that; no country should allow its mineral resources to be so exposed to foreign exploitation that do not guarantee development for the country.

It is the duty of government to guarantee safer mining adding that government should not allow some small-scale miners to enter into agreements with foreign companies to continue to operate with heavy equipment.

The SJM called on the government to revoke the concessions given to Yenyeya Mining Group and Purbotabaa Mining Group in Gbane who have abused the concessions.

The SJM called on the government to revoke the concessions given to Yenyeya Mining Group and Purbotabaa Mining Group in Gbane who have abused the concessions.

The country’s natural resources are not infinite and should not be allowed by foreign companies to take control of in their own interest.

The statement concluded that, the state controlling such natural resources will use the proceeds accrued from the mines for the benefit of the people living in the areas and in Ghana as a whole.

Story by : Emmanuel Akayeti

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