By Razak Baba.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker has cautioned that the government will not hesitate to punish foreigners who breach the country’s mining laws. He said mining firms that adhere to the rules will be protected to enable them to reap the full benefits of their investments.
Mr. Mireku Duker made this point during an interaction with the Staff and Management of the Ghana Bauxite Company at Awaso, in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipality of the Western North Region.
The engagement between the Minister and the Staff and Management of the Ghana Bauxite Company follows recent reports of agitations within the Company over the withdrawal of one of the company’s key investors.
The Deputy Minister and his entourage including officials of the Minerals Commission and Western North Minister, Richard Joojo Obeng paid a courtesy call on the President of the National House of Chiefs and the Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso, Ogheahoho Yaw Gyebi.
The team was on a fact-finding mission. They informed the Traditional Council that their goal was to unravel the full State of the Ghana Bauxite Company and how the current concerns could be resolved.
The Chief, Ogheahoho Yaw Gyebi commended the government for the quick response to the plight of the workers.
“There would be the need to implement the strategy adopted through a mineral levy. So as to reconstruct and develop the Tarkwa township roads to that of Sefwi Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai town roads.’’
The Western North Regional Minister, Richard Joojo Obeng said the government is concerned with the recent developments between the workers and the Chinese Investors and is focused on resolving the issues to ensure smooth operations.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker assured the workers that the government will not make any move that would deprive them of their livelihoods.
‘’Government’s ultimate aim is to protect the livelihoods of the workers to ensure the sustainability of the company and strategically position it as Ghana’s foremost bauxite firm. Government is bent on finding ways through legislation to ensure not to export more than 70% of minerals produced, that may be able to refund not less than 30% of what the country produces to add value to the mining industry’’.
Branch Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress, Richard Ayehu expressed the need to ensure that workers’ jobs are guaranteed.