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Minister calls for peace between artisanal miners, Anglogold

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  • Muddied prospectors pan for gold in Manica Province, near the Zimbabwe border, September 17, 2010. Hundreds of miners work in individual claims rented from local landowners.   REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic  (MOZAMBIQUE - Tags: SOCIETY EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)

    The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, has appealed to the leadership of the artisanal and small-scale miners of Obuasi to restrain their members.

    while the government find solutions to the current impasse between them and the management of Anglogold Ashanti (AGA).

    He said the government was committed to providing the indigenes with employment and would not do anything to deny them of that right.

    However, he said things must be done legally and appealed to them to hold their peace while the central government found a lasting solution to the impasse.

    The sector minister last Friday held two separate closed door meetings with the management of AGA and the small-scale miners when he visited the area to acquaint himself with the issues.

    Demonstrations
    In recent times, the mining town of Obuasi has been rocked with series of demonstrations by the artisanal miners over what they considered to be intimidation from AGA.

    They accused the management of AGA of bringing the military to shut down their pits and drive them out of their concessions, thus rendering them jobless.

    Meeting
    The minister’s visit was, therefore, to listen to both sides to enable him to know the actual issues at stake.

    Nii Mills told the press after the meeting that a lasting solution would soon be found to the impasse to enable the two sides to live peacefully and in harmony.

    Although he was not clear with the plans, it was clear that the small-scale miners were encroaching on the AGA concession.

    Ceding
    Luckily, he said, AGA was in the process of ceding 275 square kilometre (km2) of its concession to the state and added that he was hopeful when the process was completed,

    “the small scale miners could form cooperatives and apply for a place in the concession.

    But until then, he appealed to them to exercise restraint and not to take the law into their own hands.

    The portion to be ceded constitutes about 60 per cent of the total concession of the mining company.

    Appreciation
    The Chairman of the miners’ group, Mr Kofi Adams, said they were grateful to the minister for his visit and was hopeful that very soon a solution would be found to their problems.

    He expressed the hope that the minister’s visit would not be the usual political gimmicks and that it would translate into action and lasting solution to the problem.

    Contrary to the perception that they were illegal miners or ‘galamseyers’, he said their members had duly registered their companies and had cooperatives and as such “do not undertake illegal mining.”

    Source: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/56424-minister-calls-for-peace-between-artisanal-miners-anglogold.html#sthash.nSFNTrJA.dpuf

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