The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has not granted permission to Exton Cubic Group to undertake bauxite mining activities at Nyinahini in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region.
According to the Agency, any attempts, therefore, by the company to enter the area to mine bauxite, is illegal.
Some angry residents of Nyinahin on Monday prevented Engineers & Planners – affiliated to Exton Cubic – from depositing mining equipment at the Nyinahini bauxite concession in the Tano Offin reserve.
The heavy duty equipment were being taken to the area with the view of prospecting and mining bauxite but the drivers of the vehicles, belonging to Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former president John Mahama, were stopped from entering the area.
The situation resulted in a confrontation between the truck drivers and the angry youth, who stood their ground, saying that unless some documentation was provided, the drivers would not be allowed in.
Following the development, the EPA in a statement Wednesday clarifying the matter has stated emphatically that “…Exton Cubic Group Limited has not obtained the required EPA permit under its mining lease and therefore, any attempt to enter the area for mining activity is illegal.”
“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 Permits 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,” the statement added.
This, therefore, means that the “prospecting permits are no longer valid.”
Meanwhile, the residents have petitioned President Akufo-Addo to ensure removal of equipment belonging to Exton Cubic from the area within 24 hours.
The residents who were prevented from embarking on a protest Wednesday morning, say they are unhappy about the company’s presence in the area.
In a press conference, the youth said “we are appealing to the president to immediately impound and return all the machinery of Exton Cubic Limited until the proper agreement is arrived at by both stakeholders.
“We therefore emphatically recommend that all Exton Cubic machinery in the forest are removed within 24 hours from now until proper documentations and agreement is met,” spokeperson for the residents, Jacob Babayaro said.