The Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfour has questioned the continuous occupation and usage of facilities belonging to the now defunct Ghana Consolidated Diamonds(GCD) Limited by staff of Great Consolidated Diamonds Ghana Limited (GCDGL) despite the cancellation of the mining lease of GCDGL by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.
The Eveningmailgh.com investigation uncovered that the Minister of Lands and Natural resources had written to cancel the mining lease of GCDGL, a subsidiary company of Jospong Group of Companies in June this year. The letter signed by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asonah-Cheremeh suggested that the cancellation follows a 120-day ultimatum giving to the company in December last year to remedy the terms of six mining leases granted the company as far back as 31st December, 2012 which had been breached.
The Eveningmailgh.com also uncovered that the minister’s letter cancelling the mining lease follows a letter to the company from the , the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), through their lawyers on April this year abrogating the contract the company has with the government.
Following the Eveningmailgh.com ’s report, the Eastern Regional Minister on Tuesday visited the company to ascertain for himself the state of the company.
Briefing the minister on the state of the company, Managing Director of the Company Enoch Baah lamented about the sorry state of the company. He told the minister that the company is struggling because the management is unable to raise a needed $6million to invest to get it back unto its feat. He said already, the CEO of the company has invested about $15million and yet has not been able to mine the carat of diamonds so far.
Throwing more light on the $15million investment made so far, Mr. Baah said the CEO, Mr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong first put in $7million which was equivalent to GHC11million in 2011. “Then he went for a loan of $3million, then equipment of about $2million.” He told the minister
However, he stated that “sadly enough, the company has not been able to account for even about a carat of diamond to the owner.”
Looking for Investors
Shockingly, despite the many letters written to the company to cancel their mining lease, Mr. Baah revealed that the company is scouting for investors and have been able to get one interested investor who want to bring technology from South Africa to assist the company.
He stated that so far the company intends to start mining from the tailings before zooming into actual mining along the Birim River.
When the Minister asked him about the letters cancelling their mining lease, Mr. Baah after several minutes of trying to be evasive apparently confirmed receiving the letters. He however pleaded with the minister to intervene for the ministry to reconsider their stance on the cancellation.
Speaking to the media after meeting with the management and touring of the company, the Minister said he will discuss with the sector minister what he witnessed and a final decision taken on the company. “It’s a policy coming from a sector minister. We need to discuss, we need to let him be aware that despite the cancellation, the people are still hanging around. For what? Maybe they are doing illegal mining and so we will discuss it with my colleague the sector minister and see the way forward.” The minister told the Eveningmailgh.com.
Mr. Darfour said he would not want to forcefully evict them for now, since he will discuss with the sector minister to know the way forward for the company first before a final decision is taken on them. He however stated that, so far the company has proven beyond doubt that they are incapable of reviving the company and so government will be open to interested investors to come on board.
Mr. Darfour added that if it happens that the company is just not viable, then the government may have to close it and use the land for something else. “Like I was telling them, if it is not viable, let us close it and use the land for something else. They have so much land but they are unable to utilize. If it is not viable, let us close the mine and use the land for something else.” A livid Kwakye Darfour told the Daily statesman.
“They had the divestiture in 2012 and for seven years down the lane, we are not seeing any progress. Is it for decoration?” He fumed.
“They should leave the place and let us decide on what to do with the land.” He added.