President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has jumped into a strong defense of Akonta Mining Limited, owned by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Bernard Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi.
According to the President, for the looking of the evidence from the Minerals Commission, he realized that Akonta Mining Limited, is not engaged in “any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as has been alleged by many accusers of the owner of the mining firm.
Akufo-Addo said the government has so far cordoned off 294 illegal mining sites in the country as part of efforts to address the menace.
Addressing the 28th national and 16th biennial National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priest Association (NUGCDPA) in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Mr Akufo-Addo said the government is committed to win the fight against illegal mining.
“I want to assure the chairperson and all of you that Akonta Mining Ltd is not engaged in any illegal mining anywhere in Ghana as we speak,” the president said.
“Further, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has through the Forestry Commission, with the assistance from the military made the effort to cordoned off all 294 sites of forest reserves in the country and rid them off illegal mining as we speak.
“We will continue to work to ensure that this situation remains permanent. This government is determined to win the fight against galamsey no matter what it costs,” Akufo-Addo said.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Samuel Abu Jinapor in September last year directed the Forestry Commissions to halt the operations of Akonta Mining Limited in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.
The directive is coming on the back of concerns raised by civil society groups including Arocha Ghana over illegal mining in the forest reserve.
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A statement issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource on Friday (30 September) said the company has no mineral right to undertake mining 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 Ltd 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 licence 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,” the statement said.