Two illegal miners died on Monday after a pit in which they were hunting for gold caved in at a small-scale mining site at Manso Tontokrom in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti region.
The two were part of hundreds of young men and women who have taken over the small-scale mining concession belonging to Kaasmil Mining Co Ltd, which has reportedly been forced out of operation after the ban on small scale mining by the President in 2017.
Checks by MyNewsGh.com indicate that the site is now been operated by the Chairman of the China Branch of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Ben Owusu Achiaw a.k.a Benviko who parades himself as President Akufo Addo’s personal translator whenever he is in China in collusion with the District Chief Executive(DCE) of Amansie South, Hon William Bediako Asante.
Work was going on unabated at the site despite the accident at the time of filing this story; more than 30 Chang Fang dredging machines have been anchored on dugout pits ravaging the belly of the earth for gold on the 25-acre concession.
Some residents told MyNewsGh.com reporters that each Chang Fang machine makes a return of GHC 300 to the DCE and the NPP China Chairman every week.
A military detachment was spotted providing security to the illegal miners when Mynewsgh.com reporters went there undercover; up to eleven uniformed soldiers were counted.
When Mr Ben Owusu Achiaw was contacted on telephone on Thursday, he said: “I don’t know anything about the accident and I’m hearing it for the first time; I have a prospecting license over the concession but I have not started work; I have only done some drilling and preparing to go and start full operation, so if anybody went there, they are illegal miners; they have not informed me about the accident because maybe they think if they do, I will go and chase them away with my soldiers”.
The DCE, Mr Bediako Asante also told Kumasi-based Fox FM in an interview that he knew nothing about the illegal operations on that mining site and also nothing about the accident; but some residents say they suspect authorities want to cover up the matter as the corpses of the two deceased miners were whisked away in a taxi moments after the DCE was informed and their whereabouts yet unknown.
But the Ashanti Regional Minister, who spoke with Kumasi-based Angel FM said he had heard of the incident but had not been fed with any details by the Amansie South District Security Council.
The original owner of the concession, Mr Charles Korankye, the Chief Executive Officer for Kaasmil Mining Co Ltd told MyNewsGh.com in a telephone conversation that it cannot be true that the DCE and Mr Owusu-Achiaw do not know about the accident, because they are the direct supervisors of the illegal activity going on at the mining site since he was forcibly ejected with the excuse that he is not sympathetic to the ruling NPP.
He said he has secured a court injunction to stop the operations on the site but Mr Ben Owusu-Achiaw has not availed himself to be served by bailiffs.
Despite the ban on illegal mining, the Amansie South District of the Ashanti region is becoming notorious for the nefarious illegal mining activities.
It may be recalled that, in January 2020, mynewsgh.com asked who-is-behind-the-galamsey-operations-in-the-oda-river-forest-reserve after it was discovered that the 16000-hectare Oda River Forest Reserve in the Ashanti region was under siege as illegal miners ravaged it for gold, despite the government’s stringent efforts at fighting against the ‘galamsey’ menace.
Three persons have died in the Ashanti region in separate illegal mining-related accidents in the Amansie South and Atwima Mponua Districts in a space of three days.
Source: My News GH