General News of Wednesday, 11 October 2017
After a number of threats, the embattled mining company, Exton Cubic Group Limited, has sued the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources over the Ministry’s revocation of their mining permits.
The Minister, John Peter Amewu, revoked the company’s leases and licenses to prospect in the Nyinahini bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest Reserve, describing the company’s operations there as illegal because of invalid mining leases.
Prior to this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), had indicated that Exton Cubic reneged on commitments to submit a liability estimate of environmental degradation, among others.
But Exton Cubic, in an application for a review of the decision at the High Court, has argued that the Minister’s decision was unreasonable, unjust, and an abuse of his powers.
The company, among others, is seeking a declaration that “the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources acted ultra vires [beyond] his statutory powers when he revoked Exton Cubic Group Limited mining leases.”
It also contends that, revoking of its license was “breach of the rules of natural Justice”, and in breach of the company’s “rights to administrative justice and property.”
Exton Cubic is further seeking an order quashing the minister’s decision to revoke the mining leases, and “an order of injunction restricting the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources or his agents from interfering with Exton Cubic’s rights acquired.”
Aside from this, the company also wants to protect its rights to the concession, and is thus seeking an order of injunction preventing the Ministry “from granting the rights acquired by Exton Cubic Group to any other person.”
Since the start of this saga in August 2017, Exton Cubic has threatened to use available legal means to overturn government’s revocation of its license, although Mr. Amewu maintained that, the mining company’s processes in acquiring the lease were questionable.
“The processes leading to the grant of the license were not quite clear and were not transparent, very opaque. So it called for a lot of questions. We believe that if the processes had taken time and the duration for the various permits were within the framework, this issue wouldn’t have come out,” the sector Minister said on the matter.
The matter came to public attention when earth moving equipment and vehicles belonging to Exton Cubic’s sub-contractor, Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P), were impounded at Nyinahin, the community where the forest reserve is located.
This was on the orders of the Ashanti Regional Minister following suspicions the mining company was operating illegally.
At the time, Mr. Amewu came out to say that his Ministry had granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession.