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General News of Thursday, 24 August 2017

Source: classfmonline.com

We’re losing $40K daily due to seizure - Exton Group

The Exton Cubic Group Limited has revealed that the seizure of their equipment by government has resulted in a halt of the company’s operations, resulting in losses of over $40,000 daily.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, Communications Director of Exton Cubic, Sammy Gyamfi, described the action to impound their equipment as an illegality.

He said they are in talks with their lawyers to take legal action against the agencies frustrating their efforts since they are suffering heavy financial loses over that halt in their prospecting activity.

He revealed they are “ready, we have all our permits, Engineers and Planning have not committed any offence, Exton Cubic has not committed any offence but we have been told by the minister that he is not ready to meet with us and that is why it has become and legal issue and we trust that our lawyers will deal with that”.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, has said his decision not to allow Exton Cubic Group to continue mining bauxite at the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve in the Atwima Mponua District, is in the interest of the country.

Mr Osei-Mensah seized the equipment and logistics hired by the company for its operations, and has vowed not to release the equipment until the company produces documents to show they have been licensed to mine in the region. The equipment belong to Engineers and Planners Co. Ltd, a company owned by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former President John Dramani Mahama.

Some critics have argued Mr Osei-Mensah has taken an entrenched position to witch-hunt the brother of the former president, but the Minister insists his stance is not political.

In a related development, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has said that Exton Cubic Group Limited is not permitted to undertake any mining prospection activity at the Nyinahini bauxite concession in the Ashanti Region.

“They (Exton Cubic Group Limited) don’t have the operating license that will permit them to be there to undertake any activity. Activities which includes whether prospecting or whatever,” Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Benito Owusu Bio, explained in an interview with Moro Awudu on Class FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Thursday, August 24.

Clarifying earlier information that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, has said that Exton Cubic Group Limited has documents for acquisition of the concession and government approval, Mr Bio argued that, “What he (Mr Amewu) said was that as far as he was concerned, they have a mining lease. He never said that they have fulfilled every obligation.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Kwaku Addae Antwi-Boasiako, in a letter dated August 23 said the mining lease given to the company was dependent on certain conditionalities which have not been met.

Hence “they are directed to stop any attempt of entering the concession to undertake any mining operation”.

Exton Cubic Group Limited has said that they have a permit to do prospecting – which they are currently doing – and not engaged in mining on the concession.

But Mr Bio said prospecting also requires an operation licence which the company has not acquired.

“They are not telling you what it is because even with prospecting you still need an operating licence. Do you know even the small-scale miners in our locality hold operating licences which is renewed annually? Without that you cannot mine or do anything regarding mining. So let’s ask them, do they have that?

“They have not fulfilled the necessary conditions that will allow them to do whatever they intend doing at Nyinahini and based on that they don’t have any right to enter there.

“Exton Cubic was given a mining lease by the erstwhile government and that mining lease has conditions attached to it which they were supposed to fulfill before they go there to do anything. Currently speaking, Exton Cubic does not have a mining operative licence. Secondly, Exton Cubic does not have a valid EPA licence. Thirdly, Exton Cubic has never done any community engagement with the community involved,” he stated.