Press Release: Formalisation of Small Scale Mining in Obuasi in Jeopardy: ASMAN appeals to IMCIM

The Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Africa Network has called on the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to prevent the Minerals Commission from giving out a concession of land which was allocated for use by informal miners in Obuasi. The group said, if the Commission goes ahead and releases the concession to a group called 
Angel Mining Company Ltd., it would amount to daylight robbery and a betrayal of trust.

Read the full press release below:

The Artisanal & Small-scale Mining Africa Network (ASMAN) has observed with grave concern the lackadaisical development on the regularisation of informal small scale miners in Obuasi, and wishes to appeal to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to intervene in a timeous manner to rectify the anomaly.
It will be recalled that in 2016 a number of illegal miners invaded AngloGold Ashanti’s underground mine in Obuasi. After several efforts to eject them failed, the Minerals Commission constituted a Movement Committee that recommended the relocation of these illegal miners to 
a 273 kilometre square of concession that had been released to the government by AngloGold Ashanti. This move by the Minerals Commission follows years of complains by artisanal and small scale miners to get their own concession to work on in Obuasi. Obviously to ensure it enhances 
its own social license to mine, AngloGold Ashanti then released 60 percent of its concession to the Minerals Commission.
The Movement Committee mapped out and prepared three key areas within the ceded 273 square kilometers surrendered by Anglogold Ashanti (AGA) and earmarked these areas for the relocation of the illegal miners (ref. Minerals Commission press statement 2016). This key step of the Commission led to the successful evacuation of the illegal miners from AGA’s concession, and paved the way for the resumption of operations of the Obuasi mine. The informal miners, who had been registered and grouped into cooperatives, would have started work in 2017 but for the 
ban on all forms of small scale mining by the new government. It is therefore surprising that this same Minerals Commission is now processing this allocated concession for another company by name Angel Mining Company Ltd. Administratively, using the “first come first served” method, the concession in question has already been surrendered, and any attempt to give it to any other entity amounts to daylight robbery, and sadly, a betrayal of trust.
This is not the first time that the Minerals Commission has made a U turn when it comes to the allocation of concessions for small scale miners. In 2009, when Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shed off an area of their concession which had previously long hosted large numbers of artisanal 
miners in Noyem, in the eastern portion of their concession located within the Birim North District of the Eastern Region, the area was subsequently blocked-out for small scale mining by the Minerals Commission, which commenced licensing processes for artisanal groups which had 
applied. During the licensing registration, the Commission used technicalities to favour another large scale mining company, AQ Ghana Gold Ltd (AQGGL) to buyout the concession from the artisanal miners with impunity, and today the Noyem blocked-out area for small scale mining has 
been taken over once again by large-scale mining. 
The GNASSM is therefore guided by what happened in Noyem, and forsees a similar economic injustice happening in Obuasi. If this issue is not properly addressed, it could reverse the progress made in resolving the standoff in Obuasi which has been aclaimed as a model for resolving small scale and large scale mining conflicts.

In conclusion, ASMAN while commending the IMCIM for their positive interventions in fighting for the regularisation and reform of mining activities in the country, wishes to urgently appeal to all the relevant agencies to rectify this anomaly regarding the formalisation of informal mining in Obuasi. This will be a fitting testimonial to the country as we prepare to celebrate the 30th milestone of the legalisation of artisanal and small scale mining in Ghana and the promulgation of the Small Scale Gold Mining Act in 1989.

To: All Press Houses
For further information, please contact:
Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah
(Executive Director, ASMAN)
Tel: 0248981538 Email: niiadjeteykofi@gmail.com)

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