By Maxwell Nkansah
About 30 people, believed to be illegal miners or ‘galamseyers’, have been trapped in a pit belonging to the AngloGold Ashanti Company in Obuasi.
The incident, according to the Ghanaian Times newspaper, took place at the Cote d’Ivoire pit belonging to AngloGold.
They were reported to have sneaked into the pit at Anwiam, a suburb of Obuasi, to prospect for gold, but the news of the trapping came yesterday when the victims’ relatives noticed their absence for some days and raised concern.
The Chief of Okyerekrom, Nana Amoako Gyanpah, confirmed the development and blamed AngloGold for leaving the pits uncovered.
“The company neglected the pit about 12 years ago. I wrote a petition to AngloGold in 2020 to remind them that I and my community do not understand why they have neglected it because there is a pit under my area, so they have to come and reclaim the land (because) we needed the land for our local farming activities.
“Currently, in 2022, I wrote another one, but to no avail. Then I have to call the press and explain certain things within our own community to them, “he told JoyNews.
But the senior sustainability manager for AngloGold Ashanti, Emmanuel Baidoo, says the concession still belongs to the company and blames the locals for trespassing.
He stressed that the company had compensated all farmers close to the pit in the community.
“It is not a piece of land that has been relinquished to the community; it is within our concession and it means we still have an interest in it.” We must ensure that it is mined, and it is possible that it is part of our reclamation program, so we will cover it at this time.
“The said pit is about 2.5km from the said community, so it is not even close to the community, so we have compensated all farms in that area in relation to the mining activity there and the lease that we have,” he noted.