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Friday, December 2, 2022

Land Minister Stops Chairman Wontumi Galamsey Site

Samuel Abdulai Jinapor

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has directed the Forestry Commission to halt operations of Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Western North Region.

The mining site as gathered belongs to the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patrotic Party, Benard Antwi Boasiako, aka Chairman Wontumi

In a statement issued by the Ministry, it noted that while records available to the Ministry show that Akonta Mining Ltd has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

According to the statement, “Our records show that Akonta Mining Ltd, on 25th August, 2022, applied for a Mining Lease to undertake mining operations in the said Forest Reserve. By a Ministerial Directive, all reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploratory activities in Forest Reserves in the country are suspended, except in exceptional circumstances”.

“Although this directive does not affect mining in Forest Reserves, Akonta Mining Limited’s application has not been determined. Accordingly, any alleged activity being undertaken by the company in the Forest Reserve is illegal,” the statement said.

Gunshot

The Ministry’s statement comes at the back of exchange of gun shots between personnel of Akonta Mining Limited and some youth of Samreboi, leading to two persons sustaining gunshot wounds.

A section of the youth reportedly prevented personnel of Akonta Mining Limited from sending more mining equipment into the Tano Nimri Forest reserve.

The company is said to have been mining in the reserve despite a declaration by government that it has not granted any entry permit into the forest reserve.

Two of the vehicles transporting mining equipment were also burnt by the youth while some vehicles belonging to timber firm Samartex had their windscreens smashed.

The two, who sustained wounds, were admitted to the Samartex hospital at Samereboi.

Chairman Wontumi

Meanwhile, the Ashanti Regional Chaiman of NPP, Benard Antwi Boasiako reacting to the issue on his Radio, Wontumi Radio denied using the site for illegal mining.

He explained that his outfit have a geniune documents and liencese from the Minerals Commission which will expire in 2030.

He noted that his oufit is rather reclaiming the site which was overtaken by some illegal mining after digging pits on the site.

Below is the full statement by the Ministry:

MINISTER DIRECTS FORESTRY COMMISSION TO HALT AKONTA MINING LIMITED’S OPERATIONS IN THE TANO NIMIRI FOREST RESERVE

The attention of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has been drawn to publications about certain operations by Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Amenfi West Municipality in the Western Region.

Records available to the Ministry shows that while Akonta Mining Ltd has a mining lease to undertake mining operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

Our records show that Akonta Mining Ltd, on 25th August, 2022, applied for a Mining Lease to undertake mining operations in the said Forest Reserve. By a Ministerial Directive, all reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploratory activities in Forest Reserves in the country are suspended, except in exceptional circumstances. Although this directive does not affect mining in Forest Reserves, Akonta Mining Limited’s application has not been determined.

Accordingly, any alleged activity being undertaken by the company in the Forest Reserve is illegal.

The Hon. Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has, therefore, directed the Forestry Commission to, forthwith, ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the Forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in this matter.

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources remains committed to the fight against illegal mining, with integrity and transparency, and assures the general public that it will continue to work with the relevant agencies and all stakeholders to come to grips with this age-old galamsey menace.

END
ISSUED BY:
THE PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT MINISTRY OF LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
30TH SEPTEMBER, 2022.

-BY Daniel Bampoe

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