Illegal miners vow to resist forceful eviction from Anglogold concessions

Illegal miners operating in Anglogold Ashanti concessions at Obuasi are vowing to resist any attempt to forcibly evict them from the company’s sites.

Members of the Artisan Small Scale Miners Association say they will protect their means of livelihood even at the peril of their lives.

Secretary of the association, Rufus Borry, says only dialogue with Anglogod Ashanti officials will resolve the current stand-off.

He warned not even the presence of the military could force them to abandon their operations in Anglogold Ashanti’s concessions.

“That will not prevent us from operating. That will only augment a conflict. There would be a conflict between the mine and the community, and the military will come in. May be, somebody may lose a life. The indigene- the local people, somebody may lose a life and in the mine somebody may lose a life. Even the military that is coming somebody may lose a life because we are here. We know the area more than them so if you want to use force, it will end up generating a conflict”, Mr. Borry emphasized.

According to the illegal miners, only mutual understanding, through discussions, can help solve the stand-off between them and the mining giant.

“We want a dialogue. It is only dialogue and mutual understanding that can solve the problem. Right now our intention is to sit on the drawing board”.

Speaking to Nhyira FM at the association’s Tutuka suburb office, Mr. Borry indicated no amount of force can compel them to leave the concession area.

He warns Obuasi may be heading for bloodshed because the indigenes are bent on protecting their interest.

During a visit to the Cote Dor area, members of the Artisan and Small- Scale Miners Association’s Task Force had taken over, preventing mining activities there.

The leadership says the nearly 100-member taskforce will continue to man the area until further notice.

The warning comes as the Obuasi Municipal Security Committee announces the deployment of more police personnel to protect the company’s concession from encroachment.

AGA suspends operations over staff safety

Despite police presence, Anglogold Ashanti says its staff are unsafe, prompting suspension of operations in the Obuasi mine.

A statement signed by Head of Legal Affairs, Juliet Manteaw-Kutin, says the mining giant is stopping all ancillary activities, except critical functions, to ensure safety of employees.

This means most administrative and surface activities will henceforth cease but others such as water pumping and treatment will continue.

“AngloGold Ashanti is stopping all but the most critical functions at the Obuasi Mine, in order to minimize contact between its employees and the illegal miners. The safety of its employees, and others, is AngloGold Ashanti’s first priority. AngloGold Ashanti continues to engage with all relevant and delegated government authorities in the region and at a national level, in order to manage the situation”, the statement said.

A clash between officials of Anglogold Ashanti and the small -scale miners on Saturday led to the death of the Corporate Communications Manager, John Owusu who was run over by vehicle.

Anglogold Ashanti confirmed the tragedy in the statement, and expressed deep sympathy with the family of the late Communications Manager.

“AngloGold Ashanti is deeply saddened to confirm the death of an employee, John Owusu, who was killed in a car accident, on Saturday 6th February 2016, after a large group of illegal miners, trespassing on the site, hurled stones and other projectiles at a group of mine employees who were observing the incursion. Our thoughts and sympathies go to the bereaved family, especially, his wife and children in these difficult times”.

The Obuasi mine has been on government-approved limited operations since the end of 2014, when underground mining operations were suspended

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