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General News of Saturday, 26 January 2019

Source: Peacefmonline.com

Government suspends operations of mining firm where 16 illegal miners perished

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh, has disclosed that government has suspended operations of the mining firm where sixteen (16) illegal miners lost their lives.

The three 3-day suspension is to enable government launch investigations into the cause of death at Gbani in the Talensi district of the Upper East region last Wednesday.

The Minister who visited the site on Thursday expressed worry about the illegal miners who were operating in the area, adding that this the most disastrous accident in the mining sector in the region.

He however appealed to community members to exercise patience and desist from engaging in such illegal mining activities.

Sixteen (16) people have died so far whilst six (6) are in critical condition.

"When you go into the community, you have people who have dug underground tunnels in their houses, some as long as 200 meters even to the underground tunnel of the mining firm. This is very dangerous and it puts the lives of these miners at risk," he said.

Nonetheless, government is committed to bringing a lasting solution to mining-related deaths in Gbani in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

Some of the miners in the area have accused Shaanxi Mines of deliberately blasting to kill their members and relatives, and appealed to the Ministry to find a lasting solution to the matter.

“We are asking what caused the deaths; because if it is normal blasting, this thing couldn’t have happened this way. But we suspect they might have added a chemical, and the entire community wants to ascertain the root cause of the 16 deaths.

“So we want the authorities to do an independent investigation into the deaths so that when we get the report then we will decide the next line of action. If we are not satisfied with the report, we shall litigate the matter in court, but until then we will continue to remain calm,” an indegene said.

However, the Minister explained that all these are unverified allegations and a team from the Minerals Commission will be deployed from Accra to investigate the matter.