Some residents of the Talensi District in the Upper East Region, have rejected the report by the Minerals Commission on the investigation it undertook into the recent mine explosion, which occurred at the Gbane community, leading to the death of 17 people.
At a press conference, organized by the Concerned Citizens of Talensi, they expressed disappointment at the decision of the Commission not to impose stiffer punishment on Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and its local partners Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Enterprises based on their findings into the death of the youth.
They said the Commission, which failed to revoke the license of Shaanxi Mining Company, which has been found culpable of breaching several of the country’s mining regulations and killing people, only awarded UD$50,000 fine to the company and indicated that the action was breeding “guerrilla warfare” and tension in the area.
“We are convinced that, even though these breaches are worth revocation of licenses, they are not the real truth of the offences Shaanxi committed against the people of Ghana.
“We are compelled to believe that, these breaches are listed for the sake of fines as a fulfilment of the Minerals Commission’s commercial purpose. This is really blood money made by Minerals Commission at the expense of 17 lives.
“The report clearly finds Shaanxi guilty for killing those young men but failed to recommend compensation for their families, what wickedness is this?” they quizzed.
The concerned citizens further criticized Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Minister of Land and Natural Resources for supporting the Chinese Mining Company and being misled by the Minerals Commission into making bad directives and calling the victims “thieves and illegal miners.”
They said, “with all due respect, withdraw that unwholesome statement and take your time to pursue the documents we sent to you. All that you need to make is an informed judgment, which is enclosed therein.
“The real thief and illegal miner is Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and its partners Yenyeya and Pubortaaba mining groups who have trespassed almost all concessions closer to them. The Minerals Commission’s own investigation has revealed time without number illegal activities Shaanxi has been engaging in.
“What baffles us is why the Commission cannot take concrete steps to enforce the recommendations of its own investigative team? Are the lives of Talensi’s not of greater importance than the money in the eyes of the Commission?” They queried.
They also questioned the sector Minister’s decision to ban all small-scale mining activities in the area and added, “by causing confusion, stationing police and military and staying in Accra calling northerners as violent people is enough for your removal as minister. We will never allow anyone to turn Talensi into a conflict zone”
They however, expressed the hope that the petition they sent to the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, which requested the President to set up a committee comprising the Minerals Commission, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Ghana Police Criminal Investigative Department (CID) and a representative from the Concerned Citizens of Talensi to investigate the recent deaths, the activities of Shaanxi and other small scale miners in the Talensi District.
This, they expressed the hope would produce a transparent and trustworthy report that would bring lasting solution, peace and stability to Talenteng.