15th July 2024

Management of Xtra Gold Ghana Mining Limited has insisted that the company had not been operating illegally as claimed by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.

According to the company, it has all the legitimate documents to conduct mining activities in the country.

The company has also debunked claims that its operations destroy water bodies and forest reserves.

 

Speaking to the media yesterday, Secretary in charge of one of the five concessions of the company at Akeym Pameng, Nana Asante Boadi, said the company complies with all laid down laws governing mining activities in the country.

He said monitors from the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory bodies constantly visit their site to check on their activities. He wondered why anybody would claim that the company is engaged in illegalities when it is the same state agencies that gave it the mining permit to continue with their activities.

A burnt bulldozer for reclamation

“Even just few weeks ago, three Armed Forces personnel visited this site and appreciated the work we do over here, urging us to continue because we are mining properly,” he told the media yesterday.

 

Burning of machines

Some military personnel on Sunday, May 16 2021, set mining equipment of the company ablaze at one of its concession sites. At least, three of the excavators and a bulldozer were brand new machines.

The bulldozers were meant for reclamation of the land by the company.

Giving clarity to the number of items burnt, Nana Asante said the military personnel, numbering about 70, burnt seven excavators, two bulldozers, five generators, 150 small pumping machines, 250 gallons of diesel among others.

He said as if that was not enough, another set of army personnel, numbering about 40, on Monday returned to the site to reset fire into all the machines they had burnt the day earlier, an attempt to completely condemn the machines.

But the Minister of Lands, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has insisted that the company had been engaging in illegalities. Addressing a press conference yesterday, he accused Xtra Gold of hiding behind a mining operating permit to perpetrate illegalities. He however stated that the ministry would investigate the legitimacy of the mining permit put in the public domain by the company.

Court case

The company has, however, served notice that it intends instituting a legal action against the government. Ernest Kumi, spokesperson for the General Manager of Xtra Gold Ghana, Kate Gyamfua, told the media that the action by the officials deployed to clamp down on illegal mining activities is in breach of laws governing the mining sector and also in contravention of directives issued by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.

“Madam Kate Gyamfua will use all legal means to defend her right and her company as a citizen,” he told the media.

Mr Kumi also revealed that Ms Gyamfua would continue to engage the government and responsible sector ministers of state to ensure the right thing is done.

Operations

Meanwhile, a visit to the mining site of Xtra Gold by journalists has revealed that there is no major river body or forest reserve within the concession of the company. The biggest river in the area, River Birim, is about 30 minutes-drive away from the concession while the major forest reserve in the area, the Atewa Range Forest, is about one-kilometre away.

It was also observed during the visit that the company had constructed about five small dug-outs (dams) where it conserves water for its operations. Already mined areas within the concession were also seen to have been reclaimed by the company.

Mr Asante insisted that due to the strict precautionary measures laid down by Xtra Gold Incorporation, which is a multilateral mining firm with headquarters in Canada, the Ghanaian subsidiary could not engage in any illegalities. This is because, according to him, any such move will tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the company and will therefore not be countenanced.

“You can see how we work here. We have our own dams; we don’t pollute any water body. We reclaim the lands after mining. It is therefore mind-blogging for some of us to have witnessed what happened here over the weekends. There’s a huge visual difference between a galamsey site and proper mining site, and you can see this for yourself,” Nana Asante said.

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