Some illegal small-scale miners (Galamsayers) in the Ahafo area in the Brong Ahafo Region are rejoicing over the collapse of a Newmont tunnel that killed six miners at the Ahafo Mills Expansion project on Saturday, 7 April, Chief Inspector Kingsley Augustine Oppong, Brong Ahafo Regional Police Public Relations Officer, has said.
According to him, preliminary investigations by the police have revealed that the galamsayers felt Newmont blocked them from engaging in their act, therefore, they find this situation as payback time.
In a statement, Newmont Ghana said it was “deeply saddened” by the accident, adding that: “Emergency response crews immediately deployed to scene” and families, police and regulators were notified.
Newmont said it is “cooperating with the police on their investigation”.
“The workers were all contractor employees with Consar Limited, a construction services company.
“The entire Newmont family is devastated by this tragic accident and our priority is to provide support to the families, friends and co-workers of the deceased,” said Alwyn Pretorius, Regional Senior Vice-President of Newmont’s Africa Operations.
In the meantime, Newmont Ghana has suspended operations.
“All other employees working in the area have been safely relocated and the scene of the accident has been secured.
“The police are on site and the appropriate government and regulatory agencies have been notified, including the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission,” the statement said.
Speaking on the disaster on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM hosted by Chief Jerry Forson on Monday, 9 April, Inspector Oppong said: “We are doing our own investigations alongside the investigations being conducted by the government.
“There is a political undertone as far as this situation is concerned, not the partisan politics, but some people within the community, especially the galamseyers are jubilating over the matter because they feel Newmont is preventing them from engaging in their work.”
He added: “Most of the indigenes are angry with Newmont and want to demonstrate against the company but as law enforcers we have our intelligence on the ground to ensure that no damage is done to lives and properties.”