By Julian Owusu Abedi
A group calling itself Concern Citizens of Talensi(CCT) has petitioned President Akuffo-Addo to revoke the operating licenses of Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company and it’s compatriots Pubortaaba and Yenyeya Mining Groups in Talensi.
This Chinese company, Shaanxi went to the Upper East sometime in 2008 with a Mine Support Service certificate/permit to assist the two small scale mining companies namely Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Mining Groups whom they had entered into agreement with to provide mine support services.
But, recent activities of these three companies in the Upper East have been in the news for all the wrong reasons especially in the case of their recent mine-blast which killed 17 people in January this year at the area of their operations in Gbane.
In a statement signed by the leader of the pressure group Samuel Sapak, he pointed out that due to Shaanxi’s encroachment onsix other licensed small scale mining groups, seven miners were killed by the Chinese company’s bad practices in 2017 without any meaningful compensation paid to bereaved families whilst the Minerals Commission and the sector ministry(MLNR) stood aloof.
He noted saying, “Mr. President, we know you have men and women on the ground whose responsibility it is to inform your good office of matters needing urgent attention. However, we have cause to believe that their complicity in the matters we are about to bring to your attention is what has made it difficult for them to appropriately inform you about some of these events in Talensi.”
Mr. Sapak recounted that “the number of deaths recorded as a result of Shaanxi’s bad and reckless mining practices stands at sixty one (61), Including the 23rd January, 2019 target-blast victims. These are our own people Mr. President. They are fathers, husbands, sons and breadwinners whose lives have been truncated abruptly by a certain Chinese group engaged in illegalities in Ghana.”
He explained that “providing support services meant Shaanxi was to provide the machinery, the finance and the expertise needed by the Yenyeya Mining Group to do sustainable mining but contrary to the law, they have practically taken over from the small scale miners and are now doing the mining themselves.”
He said, “target blasting has become a ritual for Shaanxi since 2014, due to rivalry and competition for gold ore in Talensi District. We the Concerned Citizens of Talensi feel the pain, sorrow and poverty of the bereaved families, orphans and widows and the torment of those victims alive battling at hospitals and prayer camps for health and life.”
The leader of the CCT Stated again that “it’s quite shocking but usual of the Minerals Commission and the Ministry that in the recent report on the investigations into the deaths of the 17 people in January this year, the Commission found it prudent to fine the Chinese group $50,000 on five different counts of negligence and bad practices and yet failed to recommend compensation for the Ghanaian lives lost.”
“The Commission knew what they were up to that’s why they declined our request that they involve the BNI, the Police Command and some representatives of all the small scale miners concerned or involved in the last accident that took 17 lives due to past experience but they turned us down” he added.
“Mr. President, on the 24th of April, 2018, a committee set up by the minerals commission to investigate the death of five(5) workers of Shaanxi found Shaanxi guilty and recommended a fine of $10,000.00 to be paid to minerals commission making reference to the LI2182(56)(3). What is worrying is that the committee that recommended a fine of $10,000 against Shaanxi could not recommend any compensation to the victims” he cited Mr. Sapak pleaded therefore on these accounts that ”the President as a father of the land shouldrevoke all licenses granted to Shaanxi mining Ghana Ltd and their partners to engender peace and protection of lives in the area.”