The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has halted the mining-related activities of African Queen Ghana Gold Company (AQ Ghana Gold) in Apragya in the Ashanti Region for lack of a mining lease.
The EPA said the company only had a permit for prospecting but had set up a processing site for mining, which was prohibited.
The EPA said the company was in the process of renewing its two-year prospecting license, and was yet to receive a mining lease from the Minerals Commission, as well as an environmental permit from the EPA.
It is yet to receive a mining operational permit from the inspectorate division of the Minerals Commission and to obtain an obstruction permit from the Water Resources Commission because it has created a fresh water dam in water way 500 metres away from the River Pra, thereby diverting the flow of water.
Mr Michael Sandoh, the Director of Mining at the EPA, consequently, ordered AQ Ghana Gold, which is in the process of handing over to AKA Mining, to stop every activity at the site and to report at the EPA National Office in Accra.
He said the company was asked not to install any processing material until they obtained the mining lease and the environmental permit, but they were doing otherwise, which he termed as ‘deceit of public office.’
AQ Ghana Gold Limited on April 7, signed an undertaking with the EPA that the fleet of excavator trucks and mining machinery and equipments were for storage and safe-keeping, however, some of the equipment on site would be used for site/camp construction and if and when required would be used for social responsibility projects.
The company made an undertaking that no installations of processing machine plant would be carried out at the site until the necessary approvals were obtained, and mining activities would not take place since the company had no mining lease from Minerals Commission and environmental permit from EPA.
The undertaking was signed by Mr Michael Kotoka, Exploration Manager, for the Director of AQ Ghana Gold / AKA Petroleum Ghana Limited.
However, Mr Francis Hotor, the Compliance Manager of the site, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said AQ Ghana Gold contacted the EPA and they were told that the company could not do mining until the due process was followed.
He said because the company had already procured the equipment it wanted to avoid the cost of keeping them at the port so they decided to store them in a yard whiles waiting for the mining lease.
Mr Hotor stressed that the company was not mining, but prospecting. GNA