Concerned Youth of Talensi, a youth group in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, over the weekend called on government to revoke the license and close down the operations of Shaanix Mining Company Limited in the area.
According to the group, 61 people have so far lost their lives over the years through the operations of the company without any compensation and insisted that, “our departed brothers are not illegal miners as put out there by the mining company, Shaanxi”.
“We want to state unequivocally that the community is tired of the frequent deaths of our people, we cannot co-habit with them. They should pack and go, if not, we will advise ourselves.”
They said the community and families of lost relatives have never received compensation from any institution, and accused Shaanxi of lacking basic safety practices which endanger the lives of the people in the area.
Vice President of the group, Mr Bismark Zumah stated the group’s position at a news conference held at the premises of the Regional hospital’s morgue when the group members, relatives and friends of 16 people who died in Wednesday’s mining explosion at Gbene, a mining community in the Talensi District had gathered to convey the bodies for burial.
“We want to state that the explosive used on that day contained strong carbon gas to intentionally kill our people, there were no blasting notices in our communities to inform our people before the blasting, and no vans to announce any impending blast,” he said.
Mr Zumah added that “the Minerals Commission also failed to engage the community in a public forum as stipulated in the mining regulation.”
He noted that Shaanxi and its partner companies; Yenya and Pibotaaba Mining groups had never performed any corporate social responsibilities, and questioned why they are “taking our monies without giving back to the community”.
Mr Zumah called for a full-scale investigation into the incident, and possible prosecution of culprits, and called for a clear boundary demarcation on the five concession lines between Lantaaba Enterprise, Unique, Timataaba, Obuasi and Gbandabire Mining Groups, which they claimed, have been encroached by Pibotaaba and Yenya Mining Groups to avoid future occurrence.
Mr Robert Tampre, the Acting Chairman of the Bolgatanga Small Scale Miners Association, addressing the media later, urged the youth to exercise restraint and allow the authorities to handle the situation, but was however, quick to appeal to government to intervene and find lasting solution to the miming deaths in the area.