The Member of Parliament for Akwatia Constituency, Hon Henry Yiadom Boakye has called on the government to mobilize and put out the Ghana Consolidated Diamond Limited for investors to revamp the company.
According to him, the continued closed down of the company due to unending litigation at the law court is compounding the unemployment rate in the area, as many of the youth become redundant and looters.
Hon Boakye made the call when he posed a question to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in parliament on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources when the Consolidated Diamond Limited in Akwatia will be operationalized,” Hon Yiadom Boakye.
In response, the sector Minister, Hon Samuel Abdulai Jinapor said, that Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited (GCDL), then known as Ghana Consolidated Diamond, started commercial operations in 1924 and has produced over One Hundred Million (100,000,000) carats of diamonds since its inception.
According to him, the mine has gone through different phases but was eventually shut down, sometime in 2009, when Sapper and Associates, who had won the rights to the mine, failed to inject the needed capital to operate the mine.
As a result, he said, the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), established under the Divestiture of State Interests (Implementation) Act, 1993 (PNDCL 326) was put in charge of the mine to find a strategic investor to invest in the mine.
The Minister told parliament, “In May 2011, Great Consolidated Diamonds Company Limited (hereinafter referred to as “the Company”), won the bid for an offer of Seventeen Million United States Dollars (USD17, 000,000.00).
“By the terms of the Offer, the Seventeen Million United States Dollars (USD 17,000,000.00) was to be paid in four installments over a two (2) year period between June 2011 and August 2013. Based on this offer, DIC put the company in possession of the mine, and the then Minister, on 31st December 2012 granted the company six (6) mining leases.
“The company, however, could not pay the agreed Seventeen Million Dollars for which the mine was offered. As at the end of 2015, only Three Million Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars (USD 3,800,000.00) had been paid, and no further payment was made thereafter,” the Minister added.
In addition to non-payment for the Offer, Mr. Jinapor said the Company breached the terms of their mining leases and the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), by failing to pay mineral rights fees to the tune of Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Five Thousand, Six Hundred United States Dollars (USD 7,705,600.00).
“Mr. Speaker, The Company also breached the terms of the mining leases and Act 703, by failing to commence operations, leaving the mine dormant for five (5) years. Based on the above breaches, and the advice of the Minerals Commission, the then Minister, in 2018, issued a Notice to the company to remedy the breaches. The company has failed to remedy the breaches, the Minister, on June 10, 2019, canceled the mining leases, by section 68 of Act 703,” he explained.
He said, following several petitions by the chiefs and people of Akwatia to open the mine, the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), which had taken over the rights, assets and liabilities of DIC, took over the mine on the grounds of the non-payment of the Seventeen Million Dollars. The Company then instituted an action in court alleging that the takeover of the mine by SIGA was wrongful and prayed for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain SIGA and the Government from interfering with their operation of the mine.
He noted that, although the action was discontinued, a fresh suit for the same relief was filed in 2020. Currently, the parties are attempting out of court settlement.
The Minister assured that the Government intends to seek a strategic investor with the requisite capital investment to inject it into the mine to make it operational, using modern technology. Government is, however, constrained by the current legal action from proceeding with its plans. The Office of the Attorney-General is working with SIGA to ensure that the matter is resolved for us to revive the mine.
“Let me assure the Hon. Member and the Chiefs and people of Akwatia that Government is deeply concerned about the mine, and we are working with the relevant agencies to revamp the operations of the mine, to bring jobs to the people of Akwatia,” Hon Jinapor assured.
But Hon Yiadom Boakye said the company must be in operation to give hope to the people and boost the local economy.
He however noted that though the Minister has assured the government is working to revamp the company, he would continue to liaise with the Ministry and its agencies to help put the company on a bid for potential investors.
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