The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners says it does not understand why the military is burning excavators and equipment belonging to its members that are operating legally.
According to them, the use of the military to destroy and harass its members was not one of the measures agreed on during the national dialogue on mining.
Three excavators and several pieces of mining equipment valued at $3 million have been burnt at the sites of their members in the Twifo Praso District of the Central Region.
At a news conference at one of the sites, spokesperson of the association, Abdul Razak Alhassan, gave the government a 7-day ultimatum to fix the problems they have caused or face their wrath.
“We never discussed militarisation in the fight or using brutal force in the fight against illegal mining. We are expressing our displeasure about the government’s U-turn on issues raised at the recently held Small Scale Mining dialogue at the Accra International Conference Centre,” he said.
The Association wants government to clarify the President’s directives to the military; whether or not the President ordered the military to burn excavators on-site or seize them.
The mining areas, the Association says, are not mining on water bodies but excavators that were burnt are Ntafrewaso Asamoahkrom and Awisem all in the Twifo Praso District of the Central Region.
“Examples of GNASSM members whose sites have been invaded by the military although mining activities are not done on water bodies or in the forests are the John Benedict Ventures at Ntafrewaso and Antodorm Enterprise at Asamoahkrom all in the Twifo Praso district of the Central.
They further questioned, “Can’t government liaise with the Minerals Commission for the names of Small Scale block out areas across the country and share with the deployed military personnel to prevent them from harassing legally licensed miners”.
The Association intends to hit the street in a nationwide protest and resort to legal means after the expiration of their ultimatum should government fail to address their concerns.