Residents of Manso Tontokrom, a suburb of Amansie South District, have expressed worry that the apparent delay in establishing a Community Mining Scheme for the youth could lure some idle hands into armed robbery, considering the simmering tension in the area.
They argue that the recent fracas between the locals and Asanko Gold Mining Limited, a large-scale mining firm, coupled with certain pronouncements from the youth have given cause for worry, hence authorities in-charge of the mining sector should fast-track processes to establish the initiative to offer jobs to the youths.
However, the leader and spokesperson of the youths, Kwabena Animoyam, told the media in an interview that even though the youth are running out of patience, they will not do anything untoward, because, he believes, those responsible for the Community Mining Project understand their plights and will heed to their request.
According to him, in spite of the frustrations, they cannot go about robbing people just because of hunger or begin to leave Ghana through unapproved routes and end up dying, when there is job on their land to do and earn a living.
“We can’t go about robbing because we are hungry. We can’t travel through the desert to Libya to find work and die simply because we are hungry. We can’t travel to Ivory Coast.
We can’t go anywhere, we want to be here and work. So, we are pleading with the Minister to see reason with us and launch the Community Mining programme in our area so we can also find job to do. We are only pleading with them,” he said.
He pleaded that, “the only employment is mining so we are begging that our small land be given to us for mining so we find something to do.
So that the people and the youth who are voters can have something to do. We are Ghanaians too, we plead with government.”
The youths, who for some time now have been in a tussle with the Asanko Gold Mines over a small piece of mining concession they had planned to use for the Community Mining project, said the company is playing on their emotions to make them remain jobless.
But, he said, the youth will not give up, stressing that just as the initiative was established for others to get meaningful jobs, he is hopeful the same would be done for them soon.
“We have towns around where there were no jobs but with the advent of Community Mining, the youth are now working.
So, we want to thank the President and his ministers for this initiative.
“Our only plea as people of Tontokrom is that, they should facilitate and ensure Community Mining is launched in our area too because we are many here in Tontokrom, but we have no jobs,” he said.
According to him, “the people of Tontokrom, especially the youth, want to thank the President, the Vice President, Minister Jinapor and his Deputy Minister, Mireku Duker.
“We are thankful to all these leaders, we pray for God’s protection and wisdom for instituting the community mining.
That policy has helped Ghanaians a lot.
Those who hitherto had no work have found jobs in these Community Mining.”
He recalled Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, during a recent engagement with the management of Asanko Gold Mines, recommended that, the mining firm cede part of its concessions to indigenes at its catchment areas for community mining, as one of the ways to enhance the relationship between the company and the communities.
He urged the company to earmark designated areas of their choice to the communities within its area, such as Tontokrom and Abore, for the project to lessen any invasion of illegal miners on its concession.