The government has temporarily suspended the operations of Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company Limited operating in Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.
According to a letter signed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, the suspension is to allow for thorough investigations into the company’s underground operations, and the alleged death of about seven miners in the area.
As a result, 500 permanent workers of the company have been asked to go home until further notice, while 52 workers are currently ensuring care and maintenance of the company’s mining shafts.
Speaking to Citi News in Gbane, the frustrated employees described the decision by the sector minister as unfair, cautioning the joblessness may led to social vices in the area.
An employee, Elizabeth Yinnama, said, “we are appealing to government to come to our aid, if not when we will go back to our various homes, and we may turn to armed robbery because going home, I don’t think I can survive because I don’t have anything to do; but the Galamsey workers are not helping anyone in this community.”
Miss Salina Amaze, a geologist also sided with the employees, saying “workers of Shaanxi cannot allow Galamsey intruders to let government close down the company, it will affect me and my colleagues.”
But at a press conference in Gbane, Shaanxi mining company’s Underground Mine Manager, Thomas Tii Yenzanya, said even though they have complied with the minister’s directive, efforts should be put in place to protect their shafts from being exploited by the Galamsey miners pending the outcome of the investigations.
Mr. Yenzanya said all mining operations of the company have been suspended except for care and maintenance works.
“There will be loss of production, there will be more intrusion into the area by the illegal miners because they will be mining underground chopping the pillars, stealing the gold ore and probably destroying our equipment but it’s a directive.”
Shaanxi Mining Company Reacts to Allegations
Citi News can confirm that, the Yenyeya and Pubortaaba small scale mining groups for which Shaanxi mining company is rendering support mining services to, were licensed on the 7th January 2007 and 9th October 2009 respectively by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals commission of Ghana.
Underground Mine Manager of Shaanxi mining company, Mr. Yenzanya provided documentation for the payments of employees’ SSNIT up to April, 2017.
He indicated that, the company has fulfilled its tax and royalties obligation since its operations with enormous corporate social responsibility projects ranging from boreholes, schools, bridges and scholarships for needy but brilliant students in the area.
Mr. Yenzanga denied allegations that, the company’s blasting takes place unannounced, adding that, blasting time is between 10:00 pm to 12:00 am.
He also added that, workers were sacked following due processes.
Meanwhile, investigations have commenced into the circumstances that led to the deaths of about seven illegal miners who were reported to have been trapped by smoke from one of the Shaanxi mining shafts on the 7th of April 2017.