Exton Cubic Group Limited believes the recent frustrations to halt its exploration of the Nyinahin bauxite concession may be a result of a witch hunt against it.
The company has said the recent developments concerning the legality of operations in the Nyinahin bauxite concession of the Tano Offin Forest reserve have given it a reason to be concerned.
Vehicles belonging to Exton Cubic’s sub-contractor, Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P), were impounded in the Nyinahin township on orders from the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, following suspicions the mining company was operating illegally.
When asked if Exton Cubic suspected a witch hunt during a press conference on Thursday, the company’s Public Relations Officer, Samuel Gyamfi said: “… suspicions, yes, we will not discount that [a witch hunt] because the way things are happening and the way things are being done gives us great cause to worry.”
Mr. Gyamfi proceeded to accuse the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of not communicating clearly with it on any possible legal breaches, as the agency has purported publicly.
According to the EPA, on March 29, 2016, Exton Cubic applied for three separate Environmental Permits to undertake the prospecting of bauxite on its Mprasaso, Kiriyaso, and Kyekyewere concessions in the Ashanti region.
The permit was granted but the EPA said Exton Cubic reneged on commitments to notify the EPA as soon as prospecting activities commenced and also submit a liability estimate of degradation within three months from the date of issuance of the permit.
Mr. Gyamfi, in response to this, said: “… you [Exton Cubic] are the client of a state institution like the Environmental Protection Agency. You have been writing to them and you don’t receive any replies from them. The agency feels that you have done something untoward. You have breached a requirement of your permit. The agency doesn’t write to you. The agency doesn’t invite you for a meeting. Rather you will hear in the media that an adverse decision has been taken against you.”
Mr. Gyamfi also reiterated the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, confirmation that his Ministry granted Exton Cubic an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession, in the Tano Offin Forest reserve to prospect for Bauxite.
“You have your vehicles which have not been used for any illegal activity impounded. All the necessary information and clarification have been provided by the sector minister and by the authorities concerned. There is ample documentary evidence to show that we are not engaged in any illegal mining activities.”
But when “authorities are telling you we are not ready to meet you – to hell with you. That obviously will feed into that public perception that maybe there is an unseen hand somewhere which is trying so hard to find faults when none exist,” Mr. Gyamfi said.