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Newmont is engaging in galamsey- Kwabena Donkor

The Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Mines and Energy is accusing mining giant, Newmont, of engaging in galamsey- the local parlance for illegal mining.

Dr. Kwabena Donkor claimed that the Akyem concession, which Newmont is currently mining was procured illegally.

"We are not jokers in this country; we must respect our laws," Donkor told Joy News' anchor, Evans Mensah, Monday.

Newmont’s Director of External Affairs and Communications, Adiki Ayitevi had mounted a strong defence for Newmont's operations in the Akyem concession.

"We are operating within the confines of our mining lease and in accordance with the permits granted by the relevant regulatory bodies.

"The practice in Ghana has been that the mining lease is considered valid and the basis for obtaining necessary permits from government ministries and agencies while ratification is pending.

"It has never been the practice with respect to any mining operation in Ghana that ratification must be obtained before mining begins," she argued.

Ms. Ayitevi stated however that her outfit was ready to discuss the issue with any statutory institution in the country to ensure that all ambiguities were cleared.

But Dr. Kwabena Donkor maintained the explanation by Newmont is baseless.

"We are not talking about the practice. We are talking about the mining law in Ghana," he insisted.

Quoting the mining law, Dr. Donkor stated that every mining agreement should be ratified by Parliament.

"We have issues with illegal mining. Ghanaians and foreigners have been arrested and prosecuted for illegal mining and we have a major multi-national, a listed company with a number of lawyers, blatantly disregarding our laws and the director talks about practice?" he queried.

The MP conceded however that there has been institutional and regulatory failure in "gargantuan proportions", but was convinced Newmont must take a bigger chunk of the blame for the illegality.

Accusing the mining firm of being "disingenuous", Dr. Donkor said the country must take punitive actions against Newmont.

"What do you do, when you catch a thief?" he question, adding "Newmont must face the full rigors of the law."