The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh has, in a letter, directed the management of Ghana’s sole Manganese producing company located in Tarkwa in the Western Region to halt its mining operations due to inconclusive data on the company’s operation and revenue.
The directive, according to a letter signed by the minister and dated January 31, this year, was to enable the state undertake a thorough and uninterrupted technical and financial audit of the mining entity. According to the letter, preliminary assessments of the company raised some concerns; hence the need to a detailed audit to ascertain the facts.
“A preliminary assessment of your report document and information available to the government on operations has left us with no option than to ask you to immediately cease operations in your mining area.
“The cessation of your operations will among other things, ensure that the technical and financial audit are undertaken without any challenges. You are, therefore, requested to stop mining operations by February 1, 2019” the letter stated.
In January, a report by Metal.com revealed that “China’s imports of Ghana manganese ore surged in 2017 as Chinese company Tianyuan Manganese expanded its mining capacity in Ghana after it acquired Consolidated Minerals in November 2016.”
The report further indicated that “A total of 3.47 million mt of manganese ore from Ghana entered China last year, up 106% from 2017, showed data from the Customs.”
It is not clear if the report triggered the government’s stance on transparency in the operation of the company but in July 2018, the then Sector Minister, Mr John Peter Amewu, indicated that the government was not going to renew the mining lease of GMC because the company was “flouting its mining agreement.”
It had emerged that the company had failed to involve the government in the pricing of manganese ore that was being sold to a firm in China for processing; a situation which had the potential of depriving the country of millions of dollars in taxes and royalties.