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Kumasi: 10 arrested in protest over mining ban

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Police had to fire tear gas to disperse hundreds of small-scale miners in Kumasi who were protesting against the government’s temporary ban on all forms of small-scale mining in the country.

In the course of the demonstration, 10 of the protesters were arrested by police for breaching the terms of the public order Act.

The Ashanti Regional Police PRO, ASP Juliana Obeng said the persons arrested “had gone beyond just being demonstrators to carrying offensive implements which itself is a crime.”

Government’s clamp down on illegal small scale miners and moves to conserve the environment, saw it place a six-month ban on small-scale mining.

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But the miners feel the ban, which was instituted in April 2017, has long elapsed, but the government has refused to allow them to go back to their concessions to work.

The Ashanti Regional Police Command indicated that, it would invite the leaders of the demonstrating small-scale miners for questioning.

The leadership of the small-scale miners has, in turn, said it will comply with the police when it formally invites them to answer questions over mishaps that occurred during their protest.

Miners’ complaints

The leadership of the small-scale miners say the past seven months have been very trying for them “since the government put a stopper on all forms of small-scale mining in its quest to salvage the nation’s river bodies and forests which were been ravaged by “galamsey” operators.”

They lamented that, prospective Small Scale Miners did their best to satisfy the “very rigorous legal regimes under the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), in order to obtain licenses to operate”, and so treating them like illegal miners was unfair.

“It therefore baffles us that after adhering to and going through all these processes to acquire our valid licenses, the government would lump us with “galamsey” operators who have refused to abide by the laws of the country and continue to defy the government’s directive even when the ban is still in force.”

“To us, it is unjust and unfair to lump all miners, both legal and illegal together, and subject them to equal treatment and condemnation as if there are no good small scale miners who are legitimately doing their work in tandem with laws of Ghana,” they said.

By: Hafiz Tijani/citifmonline.com/Ghana