The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is to revoke the licence of Imperial Heritage, a mining company prospecting for gold in the Apaparaman Forest Reserve in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region.
According to the sector minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the licence will be revoked today because the company was doing bulk exploration without an operating permit.
He said although the Minerals Commission issued a prospecting licence to Imperial Heritage, which he duly signed in October, 2018, the company was required to obtain an operating permit and permission from the Chief Inspector of Mines before doing bulk exploration of the mineral.
However, the entity started engaging in what was largely seen as bulk exploration without recourse to the law.
Officials of the Forestry Commission in the Ashanti Region intervened and stopped the company from its activities in the forest reserve.
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In view of that development, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh, who paid a working visit to the Apaparaman Forest Reserve yesterday to ascertain the activities of mining companies in the area, said the prospecting licence of the company would be revoked with immediate effect.
Licence may not be restored
"I signed the prospecting licence for this company only three months ago but looking at their activities now, one can see that they are doing bulk prospecting without the right permits.
I will revoke the licence today (January 11) and ensure thorough investigation is carried out on the work that has been done.
If the investigation shows that they have not done bulk exploration, the licence will be restored, but with what I am seeing here, I do not think it will be restored," he stated.
The minister's entourage included the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, and the CEO of the Minerals Commission, Mr Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh warned mining companies which have concessions in forest reserves to operate within the requirement of the law or be prepared to face sanctions.
He also urged officials of agencies under the ministry to strictly enforce the laws to ensure that mining companies did their work responsibly.
For his part, Mr Owusu Afriyie said it was the vigilance of officials of the Forestry Commission that led to the timely halt of the company operating illegally.
He, however, expressed worry about the lack of officials to man all the 13 forest reserves across the country.