Akonta mining will test Akufo-Addo’s will to fight illegal mining – Dr Tony Aubyn
Former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr Tony Aubyn has revealed only people with powerful connections can get the license to mine in the forest reserve.
Assessing the issue of illegal mining during a discussion on TV3 on 10th October 2022, Dr Aubyn said “it is not allowed to mine in a forest reserve even in certain instances it is not easy to even get a prospective licence for a forest reserve”.
With the issue of Akonta Mining which is believed to be owned by Bernard Antwi Boasiako alias Chairman Wuntomi, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Dr Aubyn was surprised that they were permitted to prospect in the forest reserve following Chairman Wuntomi’s clarification that he has the requisite licence. Dr Aubyn could not hide how surprised he was as he states that “Unless someone quite powerful before you can get such a licence though I am shocked Forestry Commission will give prospective licence points to the fact that you must be powerful to get the process to go through as it is sometimes not possible to mine in the forest reserve”.
He added that “the minerals commission and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources cannot be excused of this Akonta Mining situation as the Minister is in charge of finally endorsing your permit”.
Dr Aubyn in further explaining the terrain said there are different forms of licensing and cited that if you are having a licence for just prospecting and you mine you are engaging in an illegality.
“You must acquire the mining licence to venture into that and the Akonta mining case is a clear breach of the law.”
To him, he wished the law was tested in this instance as per his assessment Akonta Mining breached the process.
Currently, one could spend about 5 to 15 years in jail over an issue regarding illegal mining.
“If the government fails to deal with this Akonta Mining issue it will be an indictment as initially, I thought President Akufo-Addo had the will to fight this illegal mining menace,” he concluded.