The managers of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, operating in Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, have warned that illegal miners in the area could lose their lives if pits connecting their mine are not sealed as ordered by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu in August 2017, ordered the Minerals Commission to close all illegal pits that connect to the Shaanxi mining company, but this is yet to materialize.
According to Shaanxi Underground Mine Manager, Thomas Tii Yenzanya, between January and May 2018, twenty-seven illegal miners have been arrested and handed over to the police.
He added that several others also sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of illegal blasting at odd hour, a situation he said, if not immediately addressed could lead to more deaths of illegal miners.
“The illegal miners come into our mine through some pits connecting our mine. They steal our ore, drill and blast our support pillars with explosives which caused gassing and fatalities. My fear is if that one of these illegal miners’ pre-mature blasts could lead to us losing thousands of people. Meanwhile, we have reported the matter to the Minerals Commission, the Upper East Regional Minister and the Regional police command”.
Personnel from the Kumasi Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission on their routine monitoring of Shaanxi Mine, met hundreds of illegal miners busily working underground.
But District Minerals Officer of the region, Eric Bakari, said Shaanxi Mine has made several reports to his outfit about the activities of the illegal miners, but he has no written document from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources instructing him to seal the illegal pits.
“Some illegal pits are connecting to Shaanxi Underground Mine, and we understand illegal miners enter the Shaanxi Mine, but unfortunately there is no written document or instruction from either the Minerals Commission or the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to close and seal the illegal pits.”