Shaanxi workers hold peaceful demonstration in Tongo

More than 60 workers of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, including their families and some residents of the Gbane community, in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region on Wednesday staged a peaceful demonstration on the streets of Tongo, demanding the sealing of all illegal pits connecting to the underground mining pits of the company.

It would be recalled that on January 23, this year, an accident which occurred in one of the pits in the area believed to belonged to one Kwesi Appiah, alias Bantama led to the death of 16 people, and this prompted the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, to instruct the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission to investigate the incident.

After its investigation, the regulatory bodies recommended the closure of all illegal pits linking to the underground mining pits of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited as one of its recommendations.

It further recommended that one Kwesi Appiah, alias Bantama, one of the illegal miners whose pit is usually used to penetrate into the concession of the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited to steal ore belonging to the company and leading to tragic deaths in the pit, should be arrested and prosecuted.  

The  Chairman of the Shaanxi Branch Executive of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Michael Anagbire, who presented the petition to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo through the District Chief Executive of Talensi, Dr Christopher Boatbil Someteima, said although they were happy that after the investigations,  the company  was given the go ahead  to start its operations, it could not start .

The Chairman stressed that it was dangerous for the company to re-start its operations without the directive given by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission and Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to close all illegal pits linking to the company’s concessions not adhered to.

“Avert the pathetic deaths by sealing all connected illegal pits to the underground mining pits of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited. Thousands of illegal miners vacated the mining area when our company was closed.  But upon hearing that we have been given the green light to begin operations, the illegal miners have repopulated at the site,” the group said.

The group who expressed dissatisfaction of some of the illegal miners going to the court to place an injunction on the closure of all illegal pits, called on the Attorney General’s Department to take proactive steps to squash the injunction to pave the way for the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission and the District Assembly to move to the site to ensure the closure of the illegal pits.

The group who later on  held a press conference,   called on the security  and the law enforcement agencies to ensure that Kwesi Appiah alias Bantama , whose pits the 16 death occurred, be arrested and prosecuted as recommended by the investigation team.

The Chief Executive Officer of Yenyeya Mining group, Charles Taleog Ndanbon, said the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, which had been providing mining  technical service and support to theYenyeya and  Pubortaaba  Mining groups  over some years, had served as a trail blazer in the area of investment in the region and Ghana as a whole, and should therefore be protected by the government to help employ more people and  to also continue to pay its taxes and royalties, including performing its cooperate social responsibilities.

Among some of the placards the  workers carried during the demonstration included: “Mr Minister seal all illegal pits in our mining area to avoid further  deaths and causalities”,  “Shaanxi has no hands in the death of the youth”, “Shaanxi is a job creation centre” and “Yenyeya and Portaaba are licenced miners,” among others.


Pix: Demonstration Gbane 1/samba/Ayoo/03/04/19

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