By Ernest Addo
Illegal miners (Galamseyers) in Bibiani, especially those from the Old Town community in the now Western North region have since last Monday captured one of the pits of the Bibiani Gold Mines, now Mensin Gold Bibiani Ltd. concession.
Their only reason, this paper gathered, is that they are unemployed and the mine too was sitting idle without operating.
Speculations making rounds however have it that the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Hon. Kingsley Aboagye-Gyebu and the Municipal Chief Executive, Alfred Amoah are the ones providing oxygen for the galamseyers to enter Mensin’s concession without authority and with impunity.
“They have invaded the concession and are blasting with impunity. They seized the mine last Monday and have been mining since, even though there is a ban on galamsey, and everybody is looking on whilst they operate with impunity”, one of the residents in the community told this paper on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, when this paper contacted the MCE on Telephone last Tuesday on why the municipality would look on for galamseyers to invade a mining concession, Alfred Amoah said “I heard the youth besieged the mining concession of the company so I call the Divisional Commander and we went there. Initially we thought they were about ten or twenty so we went with the mindset of arresting them but upon getting there I realized they were many and we couldn’t make the issue degenerate into any chaos so we invited the leaders and they have submitted a petition to me today, which we are going through.”
He could more so, not fathom how anybody would want to associate him with galamseyers saying that “they are not galamseyers, it’s the youth of Old Town, per what I was told who out desperation from unemployment went to the pit.”
The MP. Hon. Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu also told this paper, after he initially told this paper he was not aware of the incident and that he was going to consult and revert; that, “You know Bibiani is like Obuasi. It’s the mines that gives life to the town so when it’s not operating life dies in these area, and this is not to say I support any illegality, but I was told youth from Old Town numbering about 200 seized one of the pits of the mining company.”
The mining company complained to the MCE, the MP said, and the youth were given up till Thursday (yesterday) to vacate the concession or be forced out.
As of the time of going to press last night, information trickling in was that the galamseyers were blasting like no body’s business deep in the night whilst the powers that be looked on unconcerned.
This is not the first time the galamsayers have invaded the mining concession of the company. In 2002, a similar incident happened which resulted in the military men arresting almost all the youth in the township.