The Upper Wassa based mining company, C & G Aleksa Ltd in the Western Region, has debunked allegations against the firm that they have been engaged in illegal mining operations, popularly called ‘’galamsey’ in the Upper Wassa Forest Reserve.
The claims, the company believed are calculated ploy by certain few individuals to malign and cause disaffections to the company in the eyes of the public.
General Manager of the company, Mr. Donald Entsuah, in an interview with The Herald said, C & G Aleksa Company Ltd is a registered mining firm with valid licenses and permits from relevant regulatory mining agencies and authorities, to operate and therefore, cannot involve in any unlawful activity.
According to him, the company was given Prospecting License on the 9th August 2016 and later, received its Entry Permit from the Forestry Commission on 10th August same year, after they had submitted application on 27th July, 2015 before moving its equipment to site.
The company’s response follows a Press statement last week jointly signed by Messrs. George Kofi Amponsah and Evans Kwafo, representatives of James Acquah and Cecilia Gyapong of Agona Wassa family of Wassa Juabo, in which they accused the C & G Aleksa Ltd of illegal mining and other claims that went viral in the media.
The Herald is informed, the chiefs and elders of that traditional area are not in favour of the continuous attacks by these few individuals, identified to be constituency executives of some political parties, who are hiding behind a certain Agona Wassa family of Wassa Juabo, to lay malicious claims against the mining.
This paper’s checks has established that, NOT every indigene of Wassa Juabo in Amenfi Central District, are happy or in support of this diabolical plot against the company, but rather a handful disgruntled top galamsey operators, who are angry over the ongoing ban on their usual galamsey works, hence the attempt to dirty and damage the image of C & G Aleksa Ltd.
The company’s concession, which is about 72kilometer square is said to be very rich in gold and, as such, the hotspot and main target for most galamsey operators in that area, hence the resolve to fight the company at all cost; and have been doing so since the company moved to the area.
Documentations sighted by this paper also revealed the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource, Mineral Commission and the Forestry Commission, as well as,the District Assembly under whose jurisdiction the company’s concession falls, have all recognized C & G Aleksa Ltd as a legalized company, doing legitimate mining business.
This paper, also sighted many receipts of payments the company made to Forestry Commission as Entry Payments fees and also to District Assembly on various dates and occasions, as required per the mining regulations and law.
Although the Wassa Forest Reserve belongs to the government, one of the elders of thearea, the Abusuapanyi of Wassa Ajakamanso, who are the original owners of the land, told this reporter in a telephone interview that, he is not aware of the alleged illegal mining activities of the company in question.
The Abusuapanyi, although would not comment further on the issue because he did not know the identity of this reporter, indicated that, the C & G Aleksa Ltd is the only mining company under his jurisdiction he knew, is doing legitimate mining works; but not galamsey activity.
Narrating the issues, the Manager said the company did not move just in a day and entered into the area for mining, but engaged the communities and t chiefs one after the other, by way of comprehensive consultations in line with mining laws and procedures.
According to him, their accusers started attacking the company, some were arrested by the police and later granted bail. Later, he said, due to the attackers’ aggression towards them in the area, it became a national security issue and so the company had applied to the Ghana Armed Forces for military protection and they were given.
The General Manager said, it is also not true that the company’s licenses have been revoked or terminated as being alleged in the press statement, except suspension of the license which happened at the time when their accusers had attacked the company and authorities were conducting investigation into the matter.
He noted, however, that even so, soon after the investigations were over and no wrongdoings have been established against the company, their licenses were restored immediately.
This reporter also sighted a correspondence from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources dated 27th June 2017, addressed to C & G Aleksa Company Ltd, asking the firm to continue with its operations.
He told the paper that the company does not work in the vacuum, but with the relevant state regulatory authorities that supervise their operations. He said just last week Tuesday, the Executive Director of the Forestry Commission, the Regional Manager and other officials from the Minerals Commission together with Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) have visited the company’s mining site for inspection.
Sounding very sober, Mr. Donald Entsuah wondered if the company was not licensed and thus doing any illegal mining as claimed by their accusers, would authorities be asking them to submit the company’s certificates to be forwarded to Parliament for ratification.
Responding to another allegation that the company had badly polluted River Ankobra, the General Manager said it is never true, but it was rather the activities of the illegal miners themselves, who have been secretly engaging in the illegal mining, despite the ban – that was causing serious pollution to the river bodies in the area.
He explained that, as law-abiding mining firm, they drilled about eight bore-holes within the company’s concession which at all material times, they normally use for their works. He said it also not true that the company uses thugs to harass the people in the community.
According to him, the company has what he called “Operation Flash out Galamseyers” comprising the military, police, Forestry Commission security guards and the Immigration, which they use periodically to drive away the illegal miners.
Also touching on claims that management of the company had renege on its social responsibilities to the communities in the area, General Manager said the accusers are simply being disingenuous to the reality. He mentioned communities such as Sraha, Dwobo, Ayem, Amanase, Akatrika as well as Ajakamanso which have all been supported and still benefiting.
At Amanase, he said the company promised the community six-classroom structure and a clinic. The classroom block is currently at the lintel level whiles the clinic will also start immediately after the construction of the school project has been completed.
Also, at Dwobo community, the people have asked the company to help them complete their Community Centre project which is under construction, and “as we speak, the company is assisting them”. Aside the project, the community also demanded monies ranging from GH60, 000 to GH100, 000 which have all been handed over to them.
He further mentioned that at Ayem community, they requested for KVIP toilet facility which is also under construction now, in addition to cash amount of GH¢80, 000 given to the community, aside various compensations paid by the company to the community for their teak trees which may be affected by the company’s operations.
At a community by name Akatrika, C & G Aleksa Company Ltd has also constructed major bridge and dug boreholes for that community. The company’s General Manager wondered why such malicious accusations would be thrown at the company, despite the verifiable various assistance and social responsibilities it has been making to the area.
Mr. Entsuah said, as he speaks, C & G Aleksa Company Ltd has nothing doing at Jacubu Forest and none of the company’s excavators has been moved to that area as alleged by their accusers.
He insisted that C & G Aleksa Ltd is a “responsible” company that works closely with all stakeholders and government agencies across the country, i.e. the media; but warned that “we will not allow ourselves to be maligned” by any individual or the media.
He reiterates, ‘the company wishes to assure its regulators and Ghanaians that it is not involved in any unlawful acts in the Upper Wassaw Forest Reserve.’
The General Manager assured, ‘as a responsible Company, it will continue to conduct its legitimate activities according to Ghana’s laws and regulations and resist any attempt by persons engaged in illegal mining to tarnish its image”.