Illegal Chinese miners have invaded the concession of AngloGold Ashanti at Kwanwireso, near Obuasi, and established perhaps the biggest galamsey “mine” in the Ashanti Region.
A visit to the site last Friday revealed that four bulldozers were cutting through the muddy ground in the large area close to the River Kwanwire for gold.
The river was a sorry sight. It was muddy, and against the background that it is the main source of drinking water for the residents of some of the villages downstream, one could imagine the health implications the situation has for the people who drink from it.
Apart from destroying the environment, the illegal miners are making huge returns from their activities, much to the disadvantage of AngloGold in particular and the country at large.
The Chinese have constructed makeshift residential accommodation on the field and employed some locals to work for them.
Besides, they have installed communication gadgets, apparently to communicate with the outside world.
Immediately the team of journalists and AngloGold officials reached the area, some of the Chinese were seen running into the bush.
Officials of AngloGold Obuasi Mine said the Chinese started operating in the concession from January 2012, noting that even though reports had been made to the police, regrettably, the Chinese were released anytime they were arrested.
“Just recently, a number of them were arrested by the police, but within minutes after their arrest they were back at work,” the Public Affairs Manager of AngloGold, Mr John Owusu, told graphic.com.gh.
According to him, the Chinese claimed a chief in the area had sold the land to them.
He expressed regret at the way the country continued to look on while galamsey operators, including illegal immigrants, operated with impunity, saying, “This can never happen in China.”
“The Chinese are driving through town in posh vehicles without driving licences, yet we seem not to care,” Mr Owusu said.
He said the Chinese were armed and sometimes they opened fire to scare away AngloGold officials who went to the area.
A young lady who claimed she worked as a cook for the Chinese said she received a pittance for the job “but I have to do the work, since there is no job out there”.
Source Graphic Ghana News