Evict Okoben Mines From All Galamsey Sites
-Minerals Commission Directs W/R Security Council
The Western Regional Coordinating Security Council (RESEC) has been tasked to use all available lawful means to clear the presence of mining firms, Okoben Mining Limited and Gwiraman Mining Company Limited, which have been operating illegally, from all mining sites in the region.
The two companies, said to belong to one Nana Okoben Amponsah, a popular small-scale gold miner, apparently, have been carrying out mining activities without authorization or approval from the regulator, to engage in any such operations.
Regardless of the above-mentioned companies’ no-permit status, they are said to be engaging in illegal mining operations around the Gwira traditional area, in the Nzema East Municipality, on the blind side of the authorities.
But the Minerals Commission, in a letter dated Friday, September 1, 2023, addressed to the Regional Minister, Kwabena Okeyere Darko-Mensah, requested the Regional Coordinating Council to do the needful by clearing these companies from their illegal mining sites in the forest.
The letter, sighted by The Anchor and signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi, copied the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Nzema East Assembly at Axim, said the commission has become aware of the illegal activities of the companies.
“It has again come to the attention of the Minerals Commission that Nana Amponsah, in the name of these companies, has been carrying out mining activities or operations without the required authorizations or approvals under the mining laws of Ghana.
“The Commission hereby seeks the support of the Western Regional Security Council to stop the activities of Nana Amponsah, his privies, agents or assigns,” the letter in brief said.
Without the required licence, the operations of the companies are deemed engaging in massive illegal mining activities, popularly known as galamsey, in the forests.
This is not the first time Nana Okoben Amponsah is being accused of engaging in illegal mining at different parts of the gold rich region.
In the past, he was labeled as having mined near rivers and also allegedly shot some residents of the community, where he undertakes his operations, for trespassing his concessions.
The latest action by the Minerals Commission comes in the wake of a recent petition by the Gwira Traditional Council addressed to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to probe activities of Okobeng Mining Company Limited and uphold its decision to ban the company from undertaking mining activities in their jurisdiction.
The chiefs, led by the Paramount Chief of Gwira traditional area, Awulae Angama Tu-AgyanII, said, the illegal mining activities of the company in the area are having a negative impact on the residents, hence the decision to ban him.
According to them, the affected communities have resolved to ban Okobeng Mining from undertaking any activities in their areas and needed the approval from the ministry and the Minerals Commission to enforce their decision.
The chiefs declared their support for the government’s illegal mining fight and expressed their readiness to collaborate with relevant agencies to stamp out the menace in the area.
They asserted that a number of companies were undertaking mining operations without the required licence and that the chiefs had made moves to stop them but would need backing from the ministry.
Aside from the illegal mining activities, the chiefs have also observed that the owner of Okobeng Mining Company and his cohorts had allegedly been carrying out activities which had security implications with the potential of degenerating into a full-scale crisis if preventive measures were not expeditiously instituted.