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Business News of Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Odumase illegal miners now do business in homes

Some residents of Odumase, near Konongo in the Ashanti Region, have resorted to in-house mining, instead of the open-pit mining that most small-scale and illegal miners engage in.

In-house mining involves the digging of holes in houses to enable miners to enter the bowels of the earth to search for gold.

They do that in an attempt to outwit security officials.
So far, the Odumase police have identified more than 70 in-house mining pits, with one of them sited in front of the Church of Pentecost.


Most of the pits are located on the compounds of houses in Odumase, irrespective of the danger the practice poses to occupants of the homes and other people.
The house of a US-based resident of Odumase, popularly known as “Nana Ayaase”, is the most notorious in the area for the in-house mining as it has five pits.

The pits have been covered with electric wire mesh, making it extremely difficult for any security person to go there.
It was a recent operation that led to the arrest of some illegal miners.

The Konongo-Odumase District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Mr Ibrahim Sulley, told the Daily Graphic that 11 people had been arrested in two separate swoops for indulging in in-house illegal mining in Odumase.

He said police swoops on August 28 and 31, 2015 also resulted in the seizure of more than 100 sacks of stones suspected to contain gold.
The police also demolished more than 20 structures being used by the illegal miners.

According to Supt Sulley, the arrest of the suspects followed a two-week ultimatum that the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandor, gave the miners after he had toured the area recently.

He said eight of the 11 people arrested recently were picked at “Nana Ayaase”.

At a meeting between the Asante Akyem Central Municipal Security Council and the traditional authorities of Odumase last Friday, the Municipal Chief Executive, Alhaji Braimah Boyong, urged the chiefs to co-operate with the security council in its bid to stop the practice, which posed great danger to the entire community.

He cautioned the chiefs against pleading for anyone who would be arrested for engaging in illegal mining and advised them to rather persuade their subjects to stop their nefarious activities.

It was agreed at the meeting that the illegal miners should be given one week to refill all the pits they had dug and also remove all their equipment from the various sites.

The Krontihene of Odumase, Nana Asiedu Kotwi II, appealed to the security council and the assembly to negotiate with Owari Mines, which operates in the area, to release some of its concessions to the people, so that the youth could work in them.

According to some residents who spoke to Daily Graphic, in-house mining had led to a boom in the sex trade in Odumase, since the illegal miners were ready to pay any amount for the services of commercial sex workers.

That, they said, posed a great danger to the youth in the area, since they might find prostitution attractive and drop out of school.