Government is concerned about the activities of illegal miners derailing the investment of mine operators, Minister of Land and Mines, Nii Osah Mills has said. He also promised that law and order will be restored at various mine sites.
His comments come after AgloGold Ashanti dragged Ghana to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes over inadequate security at its Obuasi mines.
AngloGold Ashanti said in a statement that the decision to place a request before the ICSID was necessitated by the continuous invasion of its concessions by some small scale miners.
The ICSID is an international arbitration institution headquartered in Washington DC, which facilitates dispute resolution between international investors and host states. The statement said Ghana’s Attorney General and other authorities have been duly notified about the commencement of proceedings of the ICSID.
Speaking at the 88 annual general meeting of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mills said government is concerned about the invasion of mines by illegal miners also known as galamseyers.
“I can assure you that we as a government are concerned. We are concerned, we are looking at ways to try and address the situation and we have not given up because I know all of you are concerned and we would like to have every mine operator given total security and for you to feel that your investment are safe.”
A clash between galamsey operators and staff of AGA in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region led to the death of the company’s top official in February.
The company subsequently requested for troops protection to protect its investment.
The government withdrew the military from the mine on Tuesday, 2 February, after an initial incursion on 30 and 31 January 2016 by illegal miners.
No reason was given for the redrawal.
"The onus for ensuring safety and security of individuals and property in any country, and therefore restoring safety and security to the site, lies with the authorities," AGA said in a press statement.
Mines in Ghana are protected by the military following a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ghana Army and the Chamber of Mines, on behalf of its members.
The company said it has withdrawn all "employees performing non-essential functions from its Obuasi Gold Mine, following the incursion of hundreds of illegal miners inside the fenced operational areas of the site since 5 February 2016."