E/R: Akyem Akokoaso Youth Demonstrate Against Chinese Mining Company Over Illegal Mining Activities
Tension is brewing at Akyem Akokoaso in the Akyemansa District of the Eastern Region as a youth in the community have issued a week ultimatum to a Chinese gold mining company to vacate the area or face their wrath.
The youth have accused Jia Xin Industrial mining company of engaging in illegal Mining since they do not have mining license but embarking on underground mining with blasting.
Jia Xin Industrial Company took over the prospecting license of Ofosua Mining and construction Company after successful deeds of assignment approved by then Minister John Peter Amewu on July 17, 2018.
Addressing the media, the concerned youth of Akyem Akokoaso stated in a statement read by Ernest Oteng, one of the Conveners said that “the activities of this illegal mining company, Jia Xin Industrial Company from China is heavily destroying the lives of the people of Ofoase Ayirebi, especially its employees, the land and water bodies (to specifically mention the Aboabo River) and fast depleting the forest cover”
They added “We called the company illegal because apart from an introductory letter presented at the Chief’s Palace by the DCE, no permission or any other legal document was provided even upon several demands. Gold mining activities are supposed to contribute tremendously to the local economy of the communities within which the practice is conducted. But ours is not like that”.
The youth group said all demands made by the people of Akyem Akokoaso as part of the company’s social responsibility especially, the provision of potable water, other social amenities, and school buildings have proved futile.
Meanwhile, the company has polluted the water bodies in the area.
“Mining activities come with several environmental, economic, developmental, and societal and educational challenges that governments, environmentalists, and educationalists have fought several decades to overcome. The destruction of the environment with sophisticated machines by this China Company is on the ascendency and if care is not taken, Ofoase-Ayirebi would be a dungeon.
The poisonous chemicals released by this company (Jia Xin) into our water bodies cannot be overemphasized. As for the hazards in respect of health, the least said about it the better. The company treats its Ghanaian workers as if they were bought, slaves. This company has also failed to adhere to mining laws, rules and regulations”.
Indiscriminate blasting by the mining Chinese company is another worry to the residents.
“Another illegal and serious activity by Jia Xin Industrial Company is the way and manner they undertake blasting without notifying the community members causing fear and panic. This behavior by the company has affected negatively some pregnant women and children. Another high risk they subject their Ghanaian workers to is sending them to work in the blasted pits a few minutes after blasting with harmful chemicals”
The youth alleged that some of these Chinese miners have illegitimate or possessed expired traveling documents and working permits.
The youth appealed to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to investigate.
They also called the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Operation Halt illegal mining activities, the Chiefs, Opinion Leaders, and all stakeholders to help and support the youth in this fight against illegal mining in Akyemansa District.
Mr Ernest Oteng told Ahenkan Fm News that, the Akyemansa District Assembly wrote to the Jia Xin Industrial Company requesting it to halt their exploration activities following the expiration of their license on April 6, 2021.