Government has ordered the burning of structures and equipment belonging to Akonta Mining, a company owned by New Patriotic Party, NPP, Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Bosiako, alias Chairman Wontumi.
Accra-based Joy News, in a report stated that their sources confirmed that the destruction of the properties took place on Wednesday, October 12, 2022.
The report added that some heavy equipment belonging to the firm had been evacuated before the burning took place.
Pictures shared by myjoyonline.com showed several structures made of wood and roofing sheets burning along with some amount of machinery believed to be used in the firm’s operations.
Akonta Mining, which Wontumi insists was into regular mining and not illegal small-scale mining, that is galamsey, was operating from the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve until recently when the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources ordered a halt to their operations.
The operation was thus undertaken almost 24-hours after deputy Lands Minister, Benito Owusu-Bio had toured the affected forest reserve.
In a statement issued by the Ministry after his trip, the minister said he could not tell whether Akonta Mining were operating a galamsey site from the place.
The statement read in part: Addressing the issue of this new group of illegal miners found mining on the river he said “these are not small scale miners, these are obviously people who are just bent on destroying our forests, waterbodies and the entire environment but I cannot tell whether that is Akonta or any other company because this is not organised so I can say it’s purely illegal mining that is going on there!”
In a statement issued on September 30 and signed by minister Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Ministry said the firm did not have license to operate from “the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve in the Amenfi West Municipality in the Western Region”.
Akonta Mining it noted had mining lease to undertake operations in some parts of Samreboi, outside the Forest Reserve, but that “the company has no mineral right to undertake any mining operations in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve”.
Relevant authorities were tasked therefore to: “ensure that the company does not carry out any operation in the Forest and to take the necessary action against any person found culpable in this matter.
“Our records show that Akonta Mining Ltd, on August 25, 2022, applied for a Mining Lease to undertake mining operations in the said Forest Reserve. By a Ministerial Directive, all reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploratory activities in Forest Reserves in the country are suspended, except in exceptional circumstances.
“Although this directive does not affect mining in Forest Reserves, Akonta Mining Limited’s application has not been determined. Accordingly, any alleged activity being undertaken by the company in the Forest Reserve is illegal”, the statement further disclosed.