The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has disclosed that government is working with AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine (AGA) and other stakeholders to roll out a community mining scheme within the Obuasi enclave.
The move forms part of efforts to end the menace of illegal mining and encroachment on AGA’s concessions, and comes after about 86 youth from the Obuasi community illegally encroached on one of the pits at AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine. However, after being arrested, families and some other community members cited a lack of job opportunities in the area for the intrusion.
In a swift response, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister revealed that talks are underway to set up a properly-regulated community mining scheme at Obuasi.
“We recognise we need to find alternate sources of employment and livelihood for the youth of Obuasi and we are working with AGA and other stakeholders to do just that – including community mining, responsible regulatory community mining. But the lack of employment can never be the justification for illegally attacking the concession of AGA,” he said.
Additionally, the minister indicated that it is the duty of government and other stakeholders to ensure there are employment opportunities for the youth.
“We are working to get our national economy back on track and back to sustainable growth; that is one of the surest means of generating employment for the teeming youth of our country. The National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) has also rolled out a couple of programmes to provide alternate sources of livelihood and employment for the youth of our country. There are specific interventions AngloGold itself has done, including recruiting some of its staff from the Obuasi catchment areas,” he added.
Furthermore, Mr. Jinapor expressed government’s commitment to ensuring that AGA’s concessions are protected through all legal means.
“It is government’s policy that AGA concessions should be protected through all legal means. Therefore, the mining laws of our country will be enforced strictly. Persons are not allowed under any circumstances to invade or attack the concession of AGA. If they do as they have done, they will be made to face the full rigors of the law – they will be arrested, prosecuted and the law will take its course,” the Lands Minister stressed.
Mr. Jinapor said this when he paid a one-day working visit to AGA’s concession to gain first-hand information on recent happenings at the mine.
During the visit, Mr. Jinapor met with the Obuasi Municipal Security Council (MUSEC), Obuasi East District Security Council (DISEC), Traditional Authorities of Obuasi, management of AGA Obuasi Mine, and leadership of Small-Scale miners of Obuasi.
Briefing media after the closed-door meetings, Mr. Jinapor indicated that the discussions were productive.
“I have concluded a very productive meeting with the management of AGA. A lot of conclusions have been reached to, first of all, protect the concessions of AGA, and try to map-out a strategy that will give us a sustainable resolution to this matter,” he said.