The Ghana Chamber of Mines has called on the government to reverse its decision to pull out state security personnel from mining sites and concessions in order to provide enhanced security in the mining areas. The President of the Chamber of Mines, Mr Eric Asubonteng, stated that the government’s decision to withdraw its public security officers, particularly the soldiers, from the mines had culminated in the deterioration of the security climate at the mines and their adjoining communities.
Mr Asubonteng was speaking at a training programme for public security officers in Cape Coast last Thursday.
About 70 experts in security management at mining companies and selected state security personnel attended the programme.
Mr Asuboteng said there was no doubt that the chamber and its members had demonstrated goodwill and exemplary commitment in supporting the state to enhance the capability of its public security officers to protect life and property, adding that it would only be appropriate for the government to provide security for assets of responsible mining firms.
“In the last 10 years for instance the minerals and mining sector’s contributions to direct domestic fiscal receipts was in excess of GH¢12 billion, which translates into an average share of 18.4 per cent of direct domestic revenue mobilised by the Ghana Revenue Authority,” he stated.
“While the chamber acknowledges and respects government’s prerogative in deploying public security officers to protect high value investments, we respectfully suggest that it must not be done in a manner that makes the business community worse off,” he said.
Mr Asubonteng said the current strategy of the government to deploy its security officers to a mine only after the occurrence of serious incidents did not augur well for the operations of the members of the chamber and the strategic interest of the state considering the state-owned share in most of the mining companies.
“It is common knowledge that the private security guards that our member companies contract are not equipped and trained to handle the threat posed by the armed illegal miners and other miscreants who pose grave challenges to the rule of law and the country’s reputation as the bastion of mining in West Africa and the larger continent,” he added.
Community Mining Programme
Mr Asubonteng pledged the chamber’s support for the government’s Community Mining Programme to provide employment.
However, he said some illegal miners were abusing the initiative, forcefully possessing concessions belonging to mining companies and mounting billboards with inscriptions of community mining.