About 300 illegal miners, popularly called “galamseyers” have been trapped in one of the shafts belonging to AngloGold’s Obuasi Mines in Anwiam, in the Obuasi East District of Ashanti.
They were said to have entered the underground shaft in search of gold deposits, but could not exit when all escape routes were closed off.
Interestingly, the illegal miners have declined to use an only exit available for escape due to the fact that they could be arrested by the authorities.
They are said to have been underground for the past four days.
One of the victims, who gave his name as Ali Tijani, claimed that some of his fellow colleagues were unconscious due to the lack of food and water.
He said “we went to the AngloGold mine to work, but the place was closed down. For four days now, we have been trapped inside without any access to food or water.
“Despite our desperate pleas, they refuse to provide us with water. We are a group of around 300 individuals who ventured into the mine voluntarily,” he stated.
According to Tijani, “we have no other means of employment, which is why we resorted to mining to support ourselves and our families.”
But, AngloGold Ashanti, in a statement issued and signed by its Managing Director, Eric Asubonteng yestrerday said no person underground has been confined in any way and the main exit ramp from the mine remained open.
The statement encouraged any unauthorised person underground to leave the mine at any time by the exit points where public security personnel remained on standby.
According to the statement, “it has come to the notice of the company that some illegal miners may have been trapped underground in the northern areas of the mine, remote from current active mining areas.”
It said that “unauthorised persons underground are able to exit on foot, via the existing ramp, through the main access of this mining area.”
Stressing that “yesterday, seven illegal miners exited through this main access point on foot and are in the custody of the Ghana Police Service.”
The statement mentioned that intrusion of illegal miners into underground areas remained a significantly dangerous activity and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana was working alongside authorities to ensure that only authorised mine personnel and contractors could access underground work areas.
“The safety and security of our employees and community members remain our top priority and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana stands ready to provide any assistance required by the authorities in ensuring the safe exit of any unauthorised persons underground,” it indicated.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI