Tontokrom (Ash), May 22, GNA – Mr Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, on Monday, ordered the closure of Geo Professional Services, a foreign mining firm.
The firm is undertaking small-scale mining in Tontokrom in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.
The Minister issued the directive during the tour of some mining sites ravaged by the activities of illegal mining otherwise known as 'galamsey'.
The foreign mining firm has been using licences of three local companies for mining for the past 25 years without reclaiming the mined areas and had polluted water bodies.
The Minister ordered the arrest of the foreigners including two Russians and two Ukrainians.
The foreigners are Farid Isaer from Russia and Cennad Rutets and Chepuiyi Serhii from Ukraine.
The local mining firms whose licences are being used by the foreign company are King Solomon Mining Company, Kamil Mining Company and K. Afriyie and Sons Precious Metal Limited.
The company was issued with stop work order by the Inspection Directorate of the Mineral’s Commission on May 18 but disregarded the directives and continued mining.
The firm has mined 500 acres of land instead of the 75 acres originally permitted by the Mineral’s Commission.
Nana Kwadwo Tonto Boamah II, Chief of Tonto Krom, near Manso, Amansie West District, said the foreign mining firm had employed the services of military and police personnel to protect its concession.
He said the firm had polluted water bodies in the area and the only bridge linking the community was collapsing due to the operations of the company.
The chief said the security personnel attacked and brutally assaulted the residents of the town sometime ago.
He said the firm had been operating at the place without supporting the town in terms of corporate social responsibility.
The visit by the Minister and his entourage attracted large numbers of the residents to the company's site, who expressed joy for the intervention.