Hundreds of Ghanaians illegal miners including loads of foreign nationals have managed to invade the legally acquired gold mining concession of the Okobeng Mining Company Limited in Dominase in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality of the Western Region who had caused massive destruction to the mine.
These unlicensed miners used heavy mining equipment to engage in large scale illegal gold mining activities on the concession of Okoben Mining Company Limited on the blind side of all the state mining regulatory institutions in Ghana including Mineral Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Surprisingly, the illegal activities of these foreign nationals and Ghanaians have also outsmarted the entire Western Regional Police Command, Axim Police District Command and the Nzema West District Security Committee.
However the big questions to be asked were that who had given the already 31.5 kilometre square legally and lawfully acquired gold mining concession of Okobeng Mining Company Limited to these illegal miners to prospect the gold resources in the area."
It was discovered that some big personal who are government appointees or officials have had hands in the illegal mining activities of these foreign nationals and Ghanaians illegal miners.
The video footages available to this journalist indicates that the miners managed to invade the concession of Nana Okoben Amponsah for long periods of time.
These illegal miners who did not even had environmental permits or licenses from the government in Ghana were managed to engage in a large scale gold mining activities before the owner of the concession, Nana Okoben Amponsah got hint and quickly reported the matter to Axim Divisional Police Command.
Following the official report Nana Okoben Amponsah has lodged with the police, a joint team of police, Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and National Security personnel from Axim in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality on Wednesday January 18, 2023 moved to the site to effect the arrest of total of ten illegal miners including one chinese national.
The swoop, conducted by the Ghana Police Service in collaboration with the Bureau of National Investigation and National Security
formed part of the government’s renewed fight against illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as “galamsey.”
Information available indicates that the illegal miners who invaded the concession were more than ten but some, predominantly the foreign nationals managed to run way at the time the national security officers stormed the site to effect their arrest.
The miners managed to indiscriminately mine gold in the concession without the knowledge of the owner of the company, Nana Okoben Amponsah.
They had also managed to clear large tracts of arable cocoa farmlands in a forest at site of the company and tributaries of the Ankobra River had also been heavily polluted by their activities.
The team confiscated some excavators and many other heavy mining items.
These illegal miners have been sent to the Axim Divisional Police Command and are currently in police custody while the police have commissioned investigations into the matter.
Nana Okoben Amponsah expressed worried that despite the ban on the illegal mining activities of the central government some “unpatriotic” Ghanaians are aiding foreigners to mine and destroy his gold mining concession at Dominase he lawfully and legally secured for the past 24 years ago.
“How is it possible that despite the number of caution and announcements, people still have the effrontery to be engaging in illegal mining? What worries me the most is how our own people find it convenient to collaborate with foreigners on this destruction spree.
It is very sad. But I make a solemn promise that we will not rest. If it means going after them every day, than that it exactly what we will do," Nana Okoben Amponsah told journalists.
However, in a fact finding mission to the Dominase of where the concession of the company was located, the journalist spoke to the traditional authorities including the owners of the land who justified that Nana Okoben Amponsah has bought land of the concession from the original owners of the land in Dominate.
They told the journalist that Nana Okoben Amponsah has necessary legal documents covering the land at Dominase and that he has paying royalty to the owners of the Dominase community periodically as it was stated in the contractual agreement with the the land owners in the area.
The land owners and principal elders of Dominase have given an accounts of the numerous contributions that Nana Okoben Amponsah has done to the development of the lives of the people in the community and that he deserves to be commended.
According to them, the company has done a lot of corporate social responsibility projects and programmes to bring the development to the Dominase and adjoining communities in the municipality.
Aside this the journalist also conducted the investigations in the offices of all the state mining regulatory institutions including the Mineral Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to gather all the facts about the legality of the company's Dominase Gold Mining Project in the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira Municipality.
These investigations were conducted
after the accusers/critics of the company have currently made a falsehood publication which goes viral on the social media platforms to the effect that the company is not an active mining company before the state has ordered its activities to be halted.
They claimed in their publication to know whether the company has been renewing its mineral business operations permit with Minerals Commission yearly but the checks in the offices of Minerals Commission have proved that the company is an active mining company.
However, this journalist has in possession of the loads of legal documents which clearly shows that the company has currently applied for the renewal of the business operatiing permit from the Minerals Commission in the year under review.
The processes to renew its business operation permit are currently ongoing in the Minerals Commission and that the company cannot be blamed for the delayed, according to the Head of Communications at Minerals Commission, Mr. Isaac Abraham.
Speaking in in an interview with this senior reporter to detail how the one year business operating license/ permit is being processed in the Commission, Mr Abraham noted that once the company has legally applied for the renew of the permit, it can be allowed to continue to go and mine in its concession.
He explained that mining is very capital expensive and halting the activities of the mining companies just because of delaying in renewing the one year business operating permit with the Minerals Commission would cause damage to the mines.
He affirmed that "So per the law or policy of the Minerals Commission, once the company applies for the renew of the permit, the Minerals Commission would allow the company to continue to mine before the license could be renewed."
The minerals operation by the mining companies required a mineral right and license and that the minerals business operations permit certificate is valid for one year from the date of issue.
However, the records and certified documents available to this journalist have showed that the company has secured a mining licence to undertake mining operations on the 31.5 kilometers square gold mining concession at Dominase Gold Mining Project.
The documents further indicated that the company has the mineral right to undertake mining operations in the area.
They are also series of evidences which have attested to the fact that the activities of the company in its mining concession at Dominase have not destroyed the River Ankobra and other water bodies as be claimed by its detractors in their recent publication.
According to the information from Minerals Commission of Ghana, the Okoben Mining Company Limited owned by Nana Okobeng Amponsah is active mines with its business operating license/ permit intact with the Minerals Commission.
The genuine securing of these legal mining documents of the company have rubbished the allegations leveled against Nana Okobeng Amponsah that his gold mining company has not been renewing its business operating permit with the Minerals Commission.