Government must protect miners operating legally – Association
Mr. Daniel Kwaku Mensah, President of the Association, said the attack on licensed small-scale miners by the military deployed to halt illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) was disturbing.
“We are ready to help the Government fight this noble cause.
“But, it is also important that innocent people, especially those doing legal business are not harassed unnecessarily,” he told a press conference in Kumasi.
Mr Mensah described unfortunate instances where licensed small-scale miners have had their equipment being seized and burnt by the military despite providing ample proof of the legality of their operations.
“There is evidence to show that some members of the Association have not crossed the red line, including mining in forest reserves and on water bodies, yet they are being targeted,” he lamented.
This development, according to him, was a breach of the measures agreed on during the recent national dialogue on mining.
The Association President estimated that more than 20 excavators and several pieces of mining equipment belonging to some of their members had been burnt at their concessional sites within the Amansie-West District of the Ashanti Region.
“We are hoping that the Government would look critically at these worrying developments and expedite action to stem further damages to those licensed to do legal business,” Mr. Mensah appealed.
The Government, the Association said, should come clear on the mining red zones, and compel the military personnel deployed to work strictly within their terms of reference.
According to the Association, the Government needed to liaise with the Minerals Commission to publish the names of licensed small-scale miners across the country and share them with the deployed military personnel to prevent the latter from harassing miners operating legally.
Mr Mensah said the Association would have no choice but to seek legal redress if the abuses continued.