An upcoming public and policy engagement non-profit consultancy focusing on Social, Political and Ecological Justice issues in Afrika. We work and stand in solidarity with communities in mineral rich areas in Afrika and other global south environments.
When cases of people being buried alive arise in our countries the immediate question that we ask is; where are our Leaders? But the most sober question that many people would pose is whether the security personnel have any sanity at all? Mining companies are getting bold as days go by but our leaders have decided to keep mum.
In Tanzania we recall the Bulyanhulu case and Barrick and the Tanzanian government are still in denial. As we read the Press Statement below, let us join hands and never relenting until justice comes in our land – mother Africa…
NCOM Press statement
We members of the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM) from Chirano, Obuasi, Kenyasi, New Abirim, Bibiani, New Atuabo near Tarkwa, Prestea, Mpatuom, and Accra attending its normal rotation meeting held August 13th, 2009 at Accra, Ghana wish to unequivocally condemn AngloGold-Ashanti (AGA) for allegedly burying alive 40 small-scale miners (galamseyers) at Blacks Pit near Obuasi, Tom Collins one of the abandon pits
On Tuesday August 11th, 2009, we learnt with shock and deep regret that the security personnel of AngloGold-Ashanti allegedly decided to burry alive 40 small-scale miners at one of the company’s abandoned pits at Tom Collins also known as (Blacks Pit) near Obuasi the Municipal capital in Ashanti Region of Ghana. We view the action of AngloGold-Ashanti as barbaric, high-handedness, torture and attempted murder of citizens.
The sad incident occurred when the small scale miners were in the pit trying to eke a living. While in the hole scooping earth in search of gold, the security personnel of AngloGold allegedly used a bulldozer to cover the tunnel. It took persuasion of some members of the community to get the security personnel of the company to open up the tunnel.
This incident reminds the Coalition of the general attitude of AngloGold-Ashanti in particular and large-scale mining companies in general to small-scale miners. This unfortunate incident and many others highlight the risks small-scale miners face as they have to take even more difficult and desperate measures to eke a living.
The propaganda that seeks to criminalise them is unhelpful except that it makes the big players such as AngloGold Ashanti play a game of good guys and bad guys in the media. This propaganda goes back to the days when companies such as Ashanti Goldfields, with the active support of the colonial government, expropriated citizens’ land in exchange for derisory payments.
The incident also highlights the very contradictory posture AngloGold-Ashanti and large-scale mining companies have towards small-scale miners. On the one hand, the large-scale companies profess to want to “help” small-scale miners while denying them access to mineral-rich sites.
In Obuasi and its environs for example, much of the agricultural lands and the potential sites for small-scale mining is occupied by AngloGold-Ashanti. All over the mining areas numerous small-scale miners have been pushed out of business by a strategy which is really about the protection of the “legal rights” and commercial interest of large scale miners while pious noises are simultaneously made about addressing the aspirations of small-scale informal miners.
The use this occasion to call on government once again to develop the small scale mining sector as strategic response to youth and rural unemployment.