A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Talensi (CCT) has sounded the war trumpet in Upper East in the wake of the Minerals Commission’s investigative report on the seventeen miners who died in January this year as a result of the Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company’s mine blast at Gbane in Talensi.
The group held press conference couple days ago to react to the Commission’s report read by the sector Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh to accuse the latter of “Endorsing more Killings”.
The Residents’ Group indicated that “the report clearly finds Shaanxi guilty [of] killing those young men on five different counts but failed to recommend compensation for their families.” The CCT asked; “what wickedness is this? Honourable Minister, you have been misled by the Minerals Commission into making very bad directives. You have called the victims thieves and illegal miners. With all due respect, withdraw that unwholesome statement and take your time to peruse the documents we sent to you.”
“The real thief and illegal miner is Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd and its partners, Yenyeya and Pubortaaba mining groups, who have trespassed almost all concessions closer to them. We are sad that you spoke the mind and words of Tongo Rana (the Paramount Chief of Talensi), disrespecting tindanas (traditional landowners), chiefs and elders of Talensi by calling their sons thieves and endorsing more killing. Any money or benefit given to any authority leading to endorsement of this blast killing is painted with a bloody curse,” they stated irately.
“We will not sit here and they will kill us and take the gold to China. We’ll resist and defend our people. This time round, it’s based on their own report that we are going to act. We’ll resist whoever gives them chance to come and work here. They should come and start work and we’ll see. We are ready. We’ll stop them!” , the group leader a former Chairman of small scale miners Association in the Upper East charged attracting a loud crack of applause from the angry crowd.
Joseph Azumah Atule, one of the notable members of the CCT slammed the Minerals Commission for “trying to make a scapegoat” of a popular mining-pit owner in the community, Kwasi Appiah. He said Mr. Appiah, who is also known as “Kwasi Bantama”, was not an illegal miner as cited in the report but an authorised concessioner working in a licence area.
“Those pits are not illegal pits. Kwasi Bantama is not an illegal miner. We are part of him. This is the issue. Charles (owner of the Yenyeya Mining Group and former associate of Mr. Appiah) acquired the licence (disputably) and had a problem with Bantama Mining Group (which belongs to Kwasi Appiah). We were called to the Minerals Commission’s head office on August 26, 2010. What the Minerals Commission’s Chief Executive told us was we should all go back and work until the issue is resolved. The issue still remains unresolved. So, if Charles is working, shouldn’t the Bantama Mining Group work? The place is licensed. So, if somebody is working on a licence land, it is not illegal. Kwasi Bantama being used as a scapegoat is a cover-up. Their bogus report has confirmed the claims by the Concerned Citizens of Talensi that Shaanxi killed the 17 miners intentionally,” he asserted.