Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu could not come to terms with the explanation provided by the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Tony Aubyn over a prospecting license given to Okobeng Mining, a small scale mining company operating in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region.
Okobeng Mining, despite the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry directive to halt all small scale mining activities across the country, was seen mining for gold few meters away from the Ankobra River, with a prospecting license at Dwira Dominase in Nzema East Municipal.
[contextly_sidebar id=”Iot99nREc8aXKfG6jTft8XeSuaNAvByk”]Visibly worried, Mr. Amewu, who was leading a high powered government delegation on a two-day visit to some mining sites in the Western Region, questioned the Minerals Commission’s boss Dr. Aubyn about the company’s permit.
Mr. Amewu was shocked to have realized that, the company was mining for gold reserves with a prospecting license.
He bemoaned that “this company has finished mining already and are doing an alleged reclamation with a license that does not allow them to even mine.”
He asked Mr. Aubyn “who gave these people given their prospecting license to operate last two months without my notice? I have been the minister for the past five months, this license was issued last two months, how did it happen without my knowledge?”
Mr. Aubyn suggested that the matter be addressed when the team returns to Accra “because, whichever way it is, it must have been signed by a minster. It could have been signed by the former sector minister”.
But Mr. Amewu insisted he gets to the bottom of the issue by inquiring from the representatives of Okobeng Mining who were present at the site.
He asked one of the site managers, “when did you start working?” After the site manager answered saying, they started mining at the area three months ago, Mr. Amewu asked Dr. Aubyn again of who gave the company the prospecting license to the company.
After he was dissatisfied with his submissions, Mr Amewu directed that “every operation ongoing on the site be seized. He also directed that executives of the company be summoned to Accra to answer questions.
The violation Mr. Amewu expected the Minerals Commission boss to have prevented was the fact that the company had already finished mining at an area where his working permits allowed him to only prospect for gold.
He also questioned the commission on why mining had taken place at the company’s site in less than 30 meters to the main Ankobra River.
He thus ordered the demolition of a security post mounted by 2 ex-service men.
By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo & Kojo Agyemang/citifmonline.com/Ghana