The Central Regional Police Command has arrested ten “galamsey” operators for engaging in illegal mining activities and vandalizing properties belonging to Perseus Mining Ghana Limited at Ayanfuri in Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region.
Major Kwame Keddey (Retired), Security Manager of Perseus Mining Ghana Limited told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that following the arrest on Wednesday, some members of the community went on a reprisal action on Thursday, saying that until the people were released, the company would not be allowed to work.
They had thus blocked the main road leading to the Company, preventing workers from getting access whilst some others were assaulted, property including equipment and vehicles also vandalized.
Major Keddey said on July 11 this year, some galamsey operators from the community invaded portions of the Company’s land and carried out illegal mining activities.
He accused Mr. Ackah Yankey, the District Chief Executive (DCE), who after a meeting with the youth of the area, allegedly incited them to go ahead to work at that portion of the land, because it belonged to the community.
He said the invasion was reported to the Police at Ayanfuri and a letter was sent to the DCE, who heads the District Security Council, for support to evict the illegal miners, but no reply came.
The Company also petitioned the Regional and National Security for help in a bid to prevent the application of force to evict the people but to no avail, putting the company in a very difficult position, he added.
According to Major Keddey, the land in question legally belonged to the Company and had proof of documentation and certification.
Reacting to the allegations by the Security Manager, the DCE denied inciting the youth to take-over the land, but added that the Company had failed to come to amicable terms with the owners of the land.
He said there was an old mine before the Company started its operations in the town, which the youth mined for their livelihood and therefore the Company would have to either expand the Mine and employ the youth or leave them in peace.
Major Keddey, however, hinted that that old mine contained some toxic substances approved for the Company to reclaim and decommission, adding that if the illegal miners faced any environmental or health implications, it was the company that would be held liable.
When contacted the Central Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Stephen Andoh Kwofie confirmed the incident, adding that Police presence had been beefed-up to maintain calm and order in the area.
He said those arrested would be processed for court whilst investigations were on-going.