An Accra High court has quashed a decision by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu to revoke mining licenses of Exton Cubic to prospect for bauxite in the Ashanti region.
The court held the minister was not clothed with such adjudicatory powers on the matter of mining in the Nhyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin forest reserve in the region.
Justice Kweku Ackah-Boafo, delivering his ruling said the decision by the Lands and Natural Resources Minister to forbid a company owned by the former President's brother was in part, "self-serving".
The court, however, dismissed an application by Exton Cubic for an injunction restricting the minister or his agents from interfering with it's acquired rights.
Moments after the ruling, counsel for the applicant, Edudzi Tamakloe hailed the decision as a strong signal to government officials who take unilateral decisions on these matters, to be advised.
But Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, maintained Exton cubic did not have the mineral rights as required by law to carry out mining activities, as held by the court.
He said the decision still leaves the applicant with nothing.
According to Mr Dame, "..the materials filed and in particular, the affidavit in opposition and exhibits showing the processes leading to the signing of the mining leases show that the lease did not comply with the statute, the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). By section 12 of Act 703, the Minerals Commission is required to submit its recommendation on an application for mineral right to the Minister within 90 days after receiving the application. The Minister is required by law to make a decision on the application within 60 days of receipt."
He insists that this did not happen in the Exton Cubic case.
Minerals Commission is said to have advised Exton Cubic to pay for the lease on November 10, 2016 which was complied with, and payment made for the lease on December 12, 2016. The Minerals Commission on 28th December, recommended to the Minister to grant Exton Cubic the Mining Lease, and the Minister, Nii Osah Mills, signed the lease the next day.
The Judge, however, held that, “based on the law as stated above and a thorough review of the materials filed, I have no hesitation in concluding that the Minerals Commission had no authority to offer the Applicant the leases and request it to make payment before the recommendation. It is the prerogative of the Minister to offer the leases and not the Commission. It is also clear that the statutory timelines were not complied with”.
The Judge held that Exton Cubic "does not have a mining right as required by law as of now."