The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, has confirmed that his Ministry granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession in the Tano Offin Forest reserve to prospect for Bauxite.
The Minister’s clarification follows some confusion that led to the seizure of mining equipment belonging to Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P), which was to do some preparatory work in the forest for Exton Cubic.
[contextly_sidebar id=”UN7h5ZoNSYr5Kex5aytpGNQ2tm38Cke5″]Reports surfaced that Exton Cubic and E&P were operating illegally in the forest but the mining company refuted the claims noting that it had legally acquired the Nyinahini Bauxite concession as far back as August 14, 2013.
Exton Cubic Group accused the Ashanti Regional Minister of unlawfully ordering the impounding of E&P’s vehicles and detaining its officers.
The company’s assertion that it was operating legally was corroborated by Mr. Amewu who confirmed that it had been given the go ahead in 2013.
“This project commenced somewhere in 2013. They began the due diligence processes through which they were granted the prospective lease around 2015. They have the entry permit from the Forestry Commission and the necessary EPA [process] was done during the exploration period.”
He noted that Exton Cubic was still within the exploration framework which is to end in December 2017, “but the mining lease has been granted in December.”
“What that mining lease does is for him to go back and start the whole processes again; going through the application for forest entry permit, the EPA processes and a lot of things that will need to be done.”
“As it stands now, he has the mining lease, he has the entry permit to enter the forest but the EPA and other things that are very important have not yet been granted and he has also not been granted an operating permit which will finally mandate him to do the production.”
Minister awaiting official documents
Speaking to Citi News earlier, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah said he was waiting on official documentation from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources before releasing vehicles and equipment belonging to E&P.
According to him, he was told by Mr. Amewu, that only three mining companies were operating in the Ashanti Region; AngloGold Ashanti in Obuasi, Asanko Gold and Oware Mines limited at Konongo. “so if there are any amendments, it should be communicated to us.”
Thus any developments must be communicated to the region, he said.
By: Kojo Agyemang/Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana