Asomah-Cheremeh licence Saga: Revoke Earl International’s licence – Talensi mining communities tell minister

The issuance of the licence has generated controversy in the Talensi mining area.
The issuance of the licence has generated controversy in the Talensi mining area.

Some members of mining communities in Talensi, a district in the Upper East Region, have called on the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, to revoke a mining licence the Earl International Group [GH] Gold Ltd— also known as Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd— is said to have acquired to go into a large-scale mining business.

A former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kweku Asomah-Cheremeh, has been under fire in the wake of some allegations levelled against him recently by the Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye DC, that he made Gh¢75million from issuing some 35 mining licences without following due process.

The members of the mining communities in Talensi say they strongly suspect that the Chinese-owned Earl International Group [GH] Gold Ltd must have benefited from the undue process which Kwame Baffoe is talking about because Earl International’s large-scale mining licence was acquired at the time Asomah-Cheremeh was in charge of the mining sector as a minister and also for the reason that they (the mining communities in the eastern part of Talensi) were not duly consulted (as required) as stakeholders of the mining area before the licence was issued to the Chinese company.

Portions of the controversial licence
Portions of the controversial licence

The space the company has acquired for the large-scale mining operations, which is said to be 16km² in size, already has different licensed small-scale mining groups working there since 2012. Some development watchers have warned of a possible clash within that zone in the district as the licensed small-scale mining groups say they were not consulted before their licence areas were given out as part of a large-scale concession for Earl International. These licensed small-scale mining groups include Yenyeya Mining Enterprise, Pubortaaba Mining Group and Unique Mining Group among others.

“We are very much aware that the witness to the licence issued for Earl International, Mr Li Xin Lonq, also known as James Lee, has been sacked for kicking against the mode of acquiring the licence which is not following due process. This further buttresses the point that the licence was fraudulently acquired and for that matter must be revoked for peace to prevail,” said Tii-roug Zumah B. Yaro, an opinion leader in Talensi District and former Secretary to the Gbane Traditional Area.

Besides the reasons ascribed to their call for the revocation of the licence unduly issued to Earl International, the members of  the mining communities in the Talensi District say about 1,400 jobs also would be lost should the licensed small-scale mining groups, which are already operating in the area the Chinese company has acquired, be ejected from their concessions.

“This is so because if compensation is paid, it would only go to the owners of the concessions excluding the employees whose survival depends on daily wages. And per their skills, they would not get employment with this killer Chinese company,” said one of the anxious employees of the Yenyeya Mining Enterprise (name withheld).

By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region – Daily Mail GH

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