The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has directed Exton Cubic Group Limited, to discontinue exploration for bauxite in the Tano Offin Forest reserve because their three mining leases are invalid.
Addressing the media on Monday, the Minister said the company’s failure to provide key documents covering its acceptance of the lease, notice of pendency, environmental impact assessment and other statutory requirements rendered the leases invalid.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had already indicated that Exton Cubic reneged on commitments to submit a liability estimate of environmental degradation, among others.
The seizure of mining equipment belonging to Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P), which was undertaking some preparatory work in the forest for Exton Cubic, led to the mining company’s troubles with the regulatory bodies.
In a letter to Exton Cubic, Mr. Amewu said “the absence of publications of the Gazette of notice of the pendency of the company’s applications and service of the notice on the various entities specified in the law is contrary to both section 13(2) of Act 703 and Regulation 177 of L.I. 2176 [Minerals and Mining Regulations].”
The Minister noted that the failure of Exton Cubic to obtain an “environmental permit, operations permit as well as various statutory infractions leading to the purported grant of the three mining leases to the company render the purported leases invalid and of no effect.”
“Please be informed in the event that you have not already been so advised that the company has no valid mining rights in the designated areas. The company is further advised to deists from entering the land under reference to prevent any further breaches,” Mr. Amewu said.
The mining company’s license was granted on December 29, 2016.
The company insists it followed due process in the acquisition of the mining license despite both the EPA and Mineral’s commission maintaining that it was in breach of the law.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana