HUNDREDS OF illegal miners who had gathered at Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) municipality of the Central Region, in search of gold, yesterday staged a massive demonstration against the Minerals Commission for threatening to stop them from engaging in the mining activity.
They started the demonstration around 8.00am from their operation site through the principal streets of Elmina and besieged the palace of Omanhene Nana Kodwo Conduah to register their displeasure and to appeal to him to intervene on their behalf.
They used a brass band to attract their colleagues elsewhere although they were dressed in their normal attire, claiming they did not want to create tension in the area.
When the gold miners got to the Omanhene’s palace, the police were there in their numbers to ensure peace and security.
Nana Conduah, who was then in a meeting with the Minerals Commission, pleaded with the demonstrators to give him some 30 minutes to finish with the meeting.
When the Omanhene and his elders later came out of the palace, a leader of the demonstrators, Paul Richmond Hasford, said the youth in the area prayed to God to provide them with jobs and God heard their prayer and gave them the natural resource.
Hasford said they knew Nana Conduah was the owner of the town so there was the need to inform him that such an activity was going on there.
He therefore appealed to Nana Conduah to intervene on their behalf so that the police and the Minerals Commission would not harass them.
Hasford then advised his colleagues not to go to the site until the three days the Omanhene had given them had elapsed, adding that anybody who would go there and get arrested would be disowned by the group.
Nana Conduah, on his part, thanked the demonstrators and pleaded with them to give him three days to negotiate with the Minerals Commission and other stakeholders to find out whether their activities would not have any effect on people living around the area.“Although the town belongs to me, I don’t have control over the gold discovery,” he said.
When Daily GuideE visited the galamsey site, the place was virtually empty as none of the illegal miners was spotted there.
In an interview with some of them, they appealed to government to legalise galamsey since there were no jobs in the country.
Daily Guide, on Wednesday, published a story about gold rush in the town with the headline, ‘Mad Rush for Elmina Gold’. It was reported that hundreds of people from other regions across the country were trooping to Elmina to engage in illegal gold mining.
The illegal miners, between the ages of 10 and 50, started their operations about a week ago when they discovered that the beach around the castle and Ayisa, near the CG Elmina cold store, which was established to serve as a sardine processing factory, abounded in gold.
The deposits, according to residents, came from the dredging of the Benya Lagoon which was deposited there when the lagoon was dredged about four years ago.
Source: Sarah Owusu-Darlington, Elmina
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