Exton Cubic Group Ltd, the company at the centre of the Nyinahini bauxite mining controversy, has faulted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for using media platforms in communicating its license revocation decision to the company.
Spokesperson for the company, Samuel Gyamfi, at a press briefing on happenings over the past few days, maintained that the decision of the EPA flies in the face of natural justice since the company has not flouted any law in its prospecting activities.
“At least, you must give that person who stands to be affected by your adverse decision an opportunity to be heard; you must grant the person audience for that person to present his or her side of the story. Now the EPA has not granted us any such opportunity.
“They have not written to us; they have not invited us for any meeting; they have not drawn our attention to any breaches for which we have failed to remedy, and so it is totally shocking that the Environmental Protection Agency is rather using the media as a platform for engaging us for revoking our license. That is not allowed under the law,” the company noted.
The Minerals Commission, in a letter, addressed to Exton Cubic Group Limited on Wednesday, ordered the company to “stop any attempt of entering the concession to undertake any mining operations”.
According to the commission, Exton has failed to obtain the relevant approvals and permits as may be required by law from the Forestry Commission, Water Resources Commission, the environmental and other relevant institutions.
“The validity of your Forestry Permit is strictly contingent upon your fulfilment of all statutory regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Water Resources Commission (WRC) and the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission pertaining to legitimate mining operations in a forest reserve, and this shall be non-negotiable”, the Commission stated in the letter.
The commission further explained that the lease granted the company is subject to ratification by Parliament.
“The mining lease is subject to ratification by Parliament in accordance with Article 268(1) of the Constitution and Section 5(4) of Act 703. Upon the execution of this mining lease, the company shall submit a certified true copy of the mining lease to the Minister to be laid in parliament for ratification.”
However, Exton Cubic Group Limited insists that they have a permit to engage in prospecting – which they are currently doing – and are not engaged in mining on the concession.
The EPA, also in a statement issued on the matter, insisted that Exton Cubic Group Ltd did not have the requisite permit to engage in its operation on the concession.
The EPA maintained that Exton Cubic Group Limited has not obtained the required permit under its mining lease, “and, therefore, any attempt to enter the area for mining activity is illegal”.
The EPA further explained that, “On 29th March 2016, Exton Cubic Group Limited applied for three separate Environmental Permits from the EPA to undertake prospecting of bauxite on its Mprasaso, Kiriyaso, and Kyekyewere concessions in the Ashanti Region, covering a total of 346.08 km sq. The EPA granted the Environmental Permit to Exton Cubic Group Limited on 7th June 2016.
“The company, among other conditions, was to notify the EPA as soon as prospecting activities commenced, and also to submit within three months from the date of issuance of the Environmental Permit a liability estimate of environmental degradation to enable the posting of the Reclamation Bond in line with Regulation 23 of the Environmental Assessment Regulation 1999 (LI 1652).
“Exton Cubic Group Limited, unfortunately, reneged on all these conditions. This, therefore, means that the prospecting permits are no longer valid," the statement added.
But the company says the relevant authorities are yet to prove to them where they faulted.
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