George Mireku Duker, MP for Tarkwa Nsuayem
George Mireku Duker, MP for Tarkwa Nsuaem

Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has disclosed that Akonta Mining firm has vacated its ‘galamsey’ site in the Tano Nimiri Forest Reserve.

The mining firm has been cited by the Forestry Commission for engaging in illegal mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest reserve without the requisite license.

Subsequently, the Lands Ministry ordered the firm to halt its operations.

Speaking on Newsfile, Saturday, Mr. Duker said per reports submitted by his colleague in charge of forestry, the Akonta Mining firm is no more operating in the Forest Reserve.

The Tarkwa Nsuaem MP added that the matter is currently under investigation by the Lands Ministry.

“The Deputy Minister responsible for forestry was on the field just recently to see whether Akonta is there and per the reports that he brought, Akonta has left the site…I am saying on authority that Akonta Mining is not at where the matter sprung up during the investigations that came out,” he stated.

But while the discussion was ongoing, a viewer sent a message to the JoyNews team alleging that the Akonta mining firm is still operating in the forest reserve. This assertion was corroborated by JoyNews Erastus Asare Donkor, who also contributed to discussions on the Newsfile programme.

Responding to this allegation, George Mireku Duker explained that the mining firm owns a licensed concession around the Samreboi community.

“Akonta mining is having a license around Samreboi. Probably, he is referring to those concessions but not the Nimiri forest. If it is about the Nimiri Forest, the Deputy Minister has informed the Ministry that Akonta Mining has left the site.

“Let me put it on record that Akonta mining firm has concessions around that area. For example, in 2012 June 14, they had reconnaissance license over an area of 135.87km square at Samreboi…Wayback in 2012 Akonta Mining has been a responsible small-scale mining concessionaire and has been mining responsibly,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ranking Member of Mines and Energy Committee, John Jinapor has dared President Akufo-Addo and the Attorney-General to prosecute Akonta Mining firm.

He challenged the government to prosecute its own officials if indeed it is committed to the fight against ‘galamsey’.

“It is the President’s own people and top people within his own party who are actively involved in illegal mining and we have said that if indeed he is committed to the fight against ‘galamsey’, he should start with his own people. That will then send a signal that he is indeed serious and determined to fight this menace…the President and his Ministers must show commitment by taking on this company,” he told Blessed Sogah on Top Story, Friday, September 30.

This call has been backed by several other Civil Society Organisations and Ghanaians.