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Ghana’s new law could end illegal mining

The government of Ghana is getting close to pass a new Minerals and Mining Act that seeks to fully regulate the sector could help to effectively deal with illegal mining in the country.

The revised law, GhanaWeb reports, will empower courts to confiscate equipment seized from illicit miners. Currently the state has not been able to hold on to them because existing regulations don’t support that. has kept a close eye on illegal gold mining in Ghana, Africa's second-largest producer of the precious metal. At its peak, an estimated 50,000 foreign workers, mainly Chinese, were operating unlawfully in the country. This prompted the government to create a taskforce in May last year to tackle the subject, and so avoid tension-generating issues, such as the massive deportation of almost two hundred of Chinese nationals last year.

But illicit operations continue to be a major problem in the Ashanti and Eastern regions of the country. According to Ghana News Agency (GNA) indiscriminate digging of deep trenches in frantic search for gold ore has wrecked most roads in the area. This has made especially difficult for health professionals to reach those communities.

Articular taken from [21/08/14]. Written by Cecilia Jasmine.

West Africa Ebola outbreak forces miners to lock down operations, delay projects

Miners in West Africa, home to significant reserves of iron ore, gold, bauxite, oil and gas, and other minerals, are increasing efforts to keep Ebola at bay following the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration that the current outbreak has reached the status of an "international public health emergency.”

Companies fear a prolonged disruption of essential supplies and restricted access from employees to remote mining camps will hurt mineral production in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Or worse: that lethal virus will infect their workers and families.

While none of the firms mining, drilling and exploring in the region have reported any cases, several have announced preventative measures. These include reducing access to their sites, monitoring workers and halting non-essential work.

Eight employees at iron ore producer London Mining (LON:LOND) left Sierra Leone and the company imposed travel restrictions in June.

Brazil's Vale (NYSE:VALE) said in April that its VGB joint venture with BSG Resources, the mining arm of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz's business conglomerate, had pulled its six international staff out of Guinea and put local staff on leave. 

Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) evacuated over the weekend a handful of employees from Liberia, adding it "will continue to monitor the situation closely." 

 Calgary-based Canadian Overseas Petroleum (TSX-V:XOP), ExxonMobil Corp.'s partner in a venture to explore the Block LB-13 project off the coast of Liberia, has said that drilling will be delayed due to the "reduced presence of expatriates."

Randgold Resources (LON:RRS), which mines gold in Mali, across the border from Guinea, instructed contractors not to bring any workers from Ebola-affected areas to the company's sites.

World's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) on Friday announced force majeureon a project that is planned to triple its iron ore production in Liberia because of the epidemic.

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) (JSE:ANG), which operates the Siguiri open-pit gold mine in Guinea, is also controlling the movement of workers to and from the mine, only 25 kilometres from the town of the same name, where cases have been reported.

The current outbreak began late March in Guinea, and has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, with some cases in Nigeria. The virus spreads by contact, and victims present symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and external bleeding. No cure or vaccine has yet been found for the disease, which death rate in West Africa has been about 50%.

Articular taken from [11/08/14]. Written by Cecilia Jasmine

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