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Closure of pits in Gbane: Deliberate miscommunication caused chaos in Talensi – DCE

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One person was reported dead after violent clashes between security personnel and members of the Gbane community in the Talensi District in the Upper East Region on Friday, March 15, 2024.

The violent clashes followed Earl International Mining Company’s attempt to close what it described as pits used by illegal miners.

Staff of the mining company and security personnel were pelted with stones. Reports indicate one of the military vehicles was damaged.

When the Media Relations Officer for Earl International Mining Company, Albert Azongo, spoke to Mark Smith on A1 Radio today, Monday, March 18, 2024, he mentioned that the decision to close the pit stemmed from a meeting among the company, the Regional Security Council, and the owners of the said concessions.

Mr. Azongo explained that the decision to close the pits, while not profitable to the mining company, was to protect the lives of miners.

“In recent times, our geologist reported that some pits being operated by some illegal miners (galamseyers) are almost connecting to ours. Though they are yet to connect, the boundary is so thin that a continuous blast by our company in that area can cause a mine disaster and claim lives. So we stopped working around that area and reported it to REGSEC and the Minerals Commission to help us get the people away from the place to avoid a looming danger.”

Sources within the mining organization have revealed that one of the pits that were supposed to be sealed has now been connected to Earl’s underground pits, as was feared. Some miners descended to the company’s underground working area through that pit. According to the source, the mining company made this discovery yesterday, April 4, 2024.

But it turns out that the entire violent clash could have been prevented. This is according to the DCE for Talensi, Thomas Duanab Wuni Pearson. Speaking on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, Mr. Wuni Pearson explained that community residents massed up to prevent the closure of the 15 pits because of false information they had received.

“Some of the guys who were at the meeting [a REGSEC meeting] went back to the mining site and went to report it as if they were coming to drive everybody away and seal all pits. Obviously, our guys would be incensed by this. I had a few calls with people to see how this could be civil because we have sealed pits before.”

“On that fateful day, I heard that when the forces arrived, people had massed up already, and nobody was going to force them out of the place and go and seal pits,” he said.

The DCE added that the death of the level 300 student was an unfortunate consequence of the actions of a few, adding that “he [the deceased student] is a relative of mine. He is more connected to me than those who are talking plenty. I share in the pain that it happened. It is unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Wuni Pearson has vehemently disputed calls for his resignation by the Talensi Mining Communities Initiative (TAMCI).

According to Duanab, the demand for his resignation reflects a lack of understanding of the intricate challenges faced by local authorities.

“They are calling for my resignation, but are they the people who brought me here or what? Who are they to say I should resign? In 2019, military personnel went there, was it the DCE who sent them there? Didn’t they chase the miners? Who are they? Is it now that they are thinking of Talensi? They don’t appreciate the workings of governance; they don’t. If they did, they would not be speaking like that.”

The group, cited concerns over Mr. Duanab’s alleged inability to uphold peace and ensure the safety of miners following a recent tragic incident where a level 300 student at the University of Cape Coast, identified as Bright, was fatally shot by military operatives, and four others were wounded.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Moses Apiah|Bolgatanga|

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