Exton Cubic appeals to Akufo-Addo over mining lease cancellation

Exton Cubic appeals to Akufo-Addo over mining lease cancellation
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|edwin.appiah@myjoyonline.com
Date: 07-09-2017 Time: 11:09:27:am
President Akufo-Addo

Exton Cubic Company Ltd whose lease to mine bauxite has been cancelled, says it wants to sit down with government to resolve disagreements.

The company insists the cancellation is unfair, arbitrary and illegal and wants the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, an avowed believer in the rule of law, to intervene.

Communications Officer, Samuel Gyamfi, was on Joy FM's Super Morning Show, Thursday to explain circumstances leading to the September 4 decision by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to revoke their mining lease in Kyekyewere, Mpasaso and Kyirayaso in the Ashanti region.

Samuel Gyamfi

Samuel Gyamfi

He said the revocation breaches Section 69(2) of the Minerals and Mining Act , 2006  which states;

(2) The Minister shall before suspending or cancelling a mining lease give notice to the holder and shall in the notice, require the holder to remedy the breach within a reasonable period, being not less than one hundred and twenty days",

"..and where the breach cannot be remedied, to show cause to the reasonable satisfaction of the Minister why the mining lease or restricted mining lease should not be suspended or cancelled". 

The officer said all the reasons provided in justification of the lease by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, cannot form a basis in law for the action.

The Minister, John Peter Amewu, in his revocation letter cited Section 87 of Act 703 of the Minerals and Mining Act as justification for cancellation.
The law states;

87. The Minister may revoke a licence granted under section 82 (1) where, 

(a)the minister is satisfied that the licensee has contravened or failed to comply with a term or condition of the licence or a requirement applicable to the licensee, 
(b) the licensee is convicted of any offence relating to the smuggling or illegal sale or dealing in minerals, or 
(c)the Minister is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so. 

According to the Ministry, there was no publication notifying the public of the company's prospecting licence as well as three mining leases, as required by Section 13(2) of the law and Regulation 177 of the LI 2176.

The Ministry said, the failure of this requirement renders the prospecting permit and the mining licences granted it by the EPA in June 2016, illegal.

The Ministry also said the company is also to provide nine other documents stipulated in Environmental Assessment Regulations,199 of LI 1652 and the Minerals and Mining regulations 2012 of LI 2182.

The Ministry also maintains the company failed to indicate in writing within 60 days an acceptance of the offer to grant it a mineral right.

But challenging these reasons, the company explained, it wrote an acceptance letter within 24 hours after it received the offer of a mineral right.

The Communications Officer said, Exton Cubic paid over GHS1.5m cedis as required by law to obtain its licences.

Samuel Gyamfi argued, the failure to publish notice of prospecting licence and mining leases are not the responsibility of the company but that of the state and agencies under it.

The Ministry's claim that the leases do not have parliamentary approval is also untenable because it is not the responsibility of the company to seek parliamentary approval.

"It is self-indicting for government to say that we have not done our work and on that basis, we are going to punish you," he cried foul.

Samuel Gyamfi explained, the company does not have an operating permit only because its application to the Minerals Commission is yet to be considered.

Samuel Gyamfi appealed to the President for an intervention because he "believes in his vision of empowering local businesses".

He also called on stakeholders, Pastors, Imams and Traditional rulers to "let their voices be heard". He complained that the revocation is jeopardizing gains made so far in developing an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry in Ghana.

Beyond the legal arm-wrestling going on, there is also the political drama surrounding the saga.

Exton Cubic is owned by Ibrahim Mahama who is the brother of former President John Mahama. Ibrahim Mahama has named his wife and son as directors of the wholly-owned Ghanaian company.

Image result for ibrahim mahama bauxite

John Mahama and Ibrahim Mahama

Sections within the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), are incensed that huge bauxite potential of the country has been handed over to the family of a political rival.

The bauxite deposits are embedded in soils in the NPP stronghold of the Ashanti Region and some youths in Kyekyewere, Mpasaso and Kyirayaso have vowed not to allow pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) elements and the former President's family into a promising wealth of commercial production. 

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