An Accra High Court has fixed February 28, next year, to rule on a judicial review application filed by Exton Cubic Group Limited following the revocation of its mining license by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry.
The court fixed the date after both lawyers of Exton Cubic Group Limited, a mining company which wanted to explore bauxite at Nyinahin, in the Ashanti Region and Mr Godfred Yeboa Dame, Deputy Attorney General representing the Republic had argued their cases before the court presided over by Mr Justice Ackah Boafo.
Exton Cubic Group Limited wants to reverse the revocation of its license by the sector ministry through a judicial review at the Court.
The Ministry in September this year revoked Exton Cubic license on the basis that the multimillion bauxite contract granted by the previous government was invalid.
Arguing the matter before the court, Mr Dame said Exton Cubic Group Limited has no right come before the court since they had no Mineral rights that the court should protect.
According to Mr Dame, the grant of Mineral rights was not just an event of signing a document, adding it was a process that the law required that the participation of the sector Minister and ratification from Ghana’s Parliament.
He said mineral rights were subject to Parliamentary ratification stressing that “the contract that the applicant was referring to showed that he had no rights at all.”
Mr Dame further argued that after Parliamentary ratification the contract ought to be published in the gazette.
According to him the grant of lease to Exton Cubic Group Limited was not in the handing over notes to the Transitional team as required under the Transitional Act.
Mr Dame contended that the mining lease purported to have been offered to Exton Cubic Group was not valid because the necessary procedures were not followed under the law.
The Deputy Attorney General said that the applicant had not demonstrated to the court why the judicial review should be granted and prayed the court to dismiss same because it has no merit and the applicant should be slapped with punitive cost.
Mr Osafo Buabeng, who represented Exton Cubic Group Limited prayed the court to grant the application for judicial review because mining lease properly executed by the state through the Minister could not be revoked by a stroke of a pen, unless due processes have been followed.
According to Mr Buabeng, the revocation of the mining lease by the Minister should have been based on recommendations by the Minerals Commission.
He held that they have various correspondence that showed that the Minerals Commission gave its approval over the project.
Exton Cubic Group Limited led by Ibrahim Mahama brother of former President John Mahama was controversially granted a long lease concession by the previous government on December 29, 2016 a few days for it to hand over power to the new government after its defeat at the polls.
The company recently moved heavy-duty machines into the forest near Nyinahin with intent to start exploratory activities, but was stopped by both the district and regional authorities after agitations by the youths in the area.
In the ensuing tussle between the youth and the company over right of the company’s Mahama’s right to enter the Nyinahin Forest Reserve, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), issued a statement saying that the company had not obtained the required permit to enable it to mine bauxite in the area.
The state was of the opinion that the instant application violated Article 88(5) of the 1992 Constitution and was to that effect incompetent.
The Attorney General is arguing that “There was no publication of notice of the pendency of the application for the prospecting licence in the Gazette as required by Section 13(2) and (3) of Act 703 and Regulation 177 of Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2012 (L. I. 2176).”
They also maintained that “Failure by applicant to obtain the relevant environmental permits before the purported grants of mining leases in respect of the areas constituting about 79% of the nation’s known bauxite resources, among other statutory violations, is very serious, having regard to the activity applicant sought to engage in – mining.”
“Pursuant to an application made in April, 2015, the applicant was on 24th December, 2015 initially issued with prospecting licenses under Section 34 of Act 703 for a term of two (2) years in respect of the following areas: Kyekyewere – 56.64 sq.km; Mpasaso – 22.46 sq.km and Kyirayaso – 32.68 sq.km.
“There was no publication of notice of the pendency of the application for the prospecting licence in the Gazette as required by Section 13(2) and (3) of Act 703 and Regulation 177 of Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2012 (L. I. 2176).”