Joy News fact-checks claims by Minister in Exton Cubic drama

Joy News fact-checks claims by Minister in Exton Cubic drama
Source: Ghana | |
Date: 05-09-2017 Time: 08:09:50:pm
Lands Minister John Peter Amewu

Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu made some claims Monday against local mining company, Exton Cubic Group leading to the annulment of its mining leases.

The Minister told the media the mining company violated sections of the Minerals and Mining Act (Act703).

Joy News fact-checked the claims by the Minister and found as follows;

Below are the claims and facts:

Amewu: “Section 13(4) of [Minerals and Mining] Act requires an applicant to indicate in writing an acceptance of the offer of a grant right within 60 days of receiving notice of the grant…There is no record of an acceptance of the offer of the Mining Leases in writing by your company as mandatorily prescribed by section 13(4).”

The Facts: The Lands Minister may not have sighted Exton Cubic’s acceptance letter to the Minerals Commission but a document intercepted by Joy News indicated the company did as was directed. In a November 11, 2016 letter addressed to the Minerals Commission CEO, Exton Cubic acknowledged the mining lease it and disclosed the payment of ¢1,389 as a processing fee and ¢750,330 for the Annual Mineral Right fee.

Amewu: “The absence of publication in the Gazette of a 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.”

The Facts: Although there is no document covering the publication of the mining application in the Gazette, there are documents indicating a key step in the Gazetting process was undertaken. In a letter to the DCEs of the Exton Cubic mining areas, the Minerals Commission urged them to make public the mining leases to the company. “We would appreciate it if you could in accordance with Section 2 of the Minerals Regulations 1962, publicise this application on your notice board as well as those of, the local post office, local/district information centre and local/district Magistrate Court,” a letter by the Commission dated April 29, 2015 read. The Atwima Mponua District Assembly in the Ashanti Region complied with the Commission’s directive in a letter dated June 2, 2015. “Notice is hereby given that Exton Cubic Group Limited have/has applied to the Ministry of Mines for the grant of a Large scale Mining Lease/Licenses in respect of ALL THAT piece of land situated at Kyirayaso in the Atwima Mponua District…,” the letter said.

Amewu: “The failure to obtain an Environmental Permit, Operational Permit, as well as the 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.”

The Facts: Documents intercepted by Joy News have revealed Exton Cubic did not satisfy the requirement in accordance with the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999(L.I.1652). The company is yet to have an Environmental Assessment Form EA2, Environmental Impact Assessment, Scoping report, Environmental Impact Statement, An Annual Environmental Report to the EPA and a liability estimates of environmental degradation.

The three mining leases granted the company linked to the family of former President John Mahama has been a subject of contention between two top government officials.

The Lands Minister clashed with Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah last month over the absence of documents authorizing Exton Cubic to mine in the Atiwa Forest Reserve.

Although he initially claimed the company had the appropriate documents to conduct its operation, Mr Amewu's new position is that the mining leases granted Exton Cubic were invalid because the Minerals and Mining Act 703 was breached during processing of the documents.

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