By Samuel Akapule
Tongo — The Paramount Chief of the Talensi traditional area in the Upper East Region, Tong Rana Kugbilsong Nanlebgtang, has underscored the need for responsible mining in the area.
The paramount chief, who is also a member of the Council of State, and a former Member of Parliament for the Talensi Constituency, made the statement in an interview with the media at his palace at Tongo on Saturday.
This follows the recent mining explosion at Gbane, claiming about 14 deaths.
He used the occasion to appeal to all small-scale miners in the area to form partnerships to enable them seek technical support from foreign investors who have the capacity to help them to do responsible mining.
The chief said deep shaft mining was one of the best methods to help protect the environment and save lives as well as protect the water bodies
The Tong Rana, who sympathised with the families who lost their relatives through the unfortunate incident, expressed worry at how small-scale mining was leading to the loss of lives and damaging the environment, and also making reclamation more costly.
"Small-scale mining will not help us in any way, the destruction that goes with small-scale mining on the land is more damaging than the gold they mined, in terms of the damage verses the earnings that we make," he said.
The chief explained that unlike the Yenyeya Mining Enterprise and Pabortaaba Mining Enterprise, the two small-scale mining companies at the Gbane, which had gone into partnership and were receiving technical support from Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, there were quite a number of small-scale miners in the area which have not partnered, and were engaging in surface mining and degrading the land and forest reserves.
"I have personally spoken to some of the small-scale miners; if they are interested in doing responsible mining, they should go into partnership and look for investors, and go into deep shaft mining, so they can employ people like the way Shaanxi is doing," he said.
The chief, however, admonished those who went around inciting people into violence to desist from that, while the committee set up by government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to investigate the cause of the recent explosion, so that a lasting solution could be found to promote peace and development.
"We are not in any way supporting Shaanxi anyhow, in fact, in the last accident, if it is found that they were reckless in whatever they did the law must also take its course, but we cannot just sit down and people would try to go into certain demonstrations. Those who are said to be the spokesmen and interested parties of certain mining groups have concessions, and they do not employ any of our people, they only use them," he said.