The company acquired a large-scale prospecting license on the 28th December 2016 to prospect for gold in the Gbane and Datuku communities in the Talensi District.
This was revealed by an undercover piece by the Northern Patriots for Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), an advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in the Upper East Region.
The NGO which shared its findings with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga revealed that the company upon its arrival in the communities conducted a ‘rushed’ illegal exploration exercise on its concession in February and March 2017.
The investigations revealed that the Minerals Commission was aware the Company was working without an operating permit.
Accordingly, the commission issued a Stop Work Order to the company in a letter referenced PL9/30/Vol1/1 and dated 25th August 2017. A reminder was sent on the 2nd January, 2018 referenced CML/INS/Vol1/2”.
The statutory requirements contained in Regulation 6 (1) of the LI 2182 (Minerals and Mining, Health, Safety and Technical Regulations 2012) states that ‘’a holder of a reconnaissance license or a prospecting license shall not commence exploration operations unless an Exploration Operating Permit is issued by the Inspectorate Division in respect of the operations…’’.
The Minerals Commission could not entertain these violations and subsequently halted operations of the company.
The investigations further revealed that the company packed out of the concession, leaving a skeletal fleet of vehicles and security guards over the area they pitched camp.
Cassius Mining Limited, a private company limited by shares, was also recently in the news over similar legal and statutory challenges.
NORPRA said some painstaking investigations raised significant concerns for worry over allegations of fraudulent backgrounds of the Directors and Shareholders of the company.
These Directors and Shareholders, all of Australian origin, according to NORPRA were said to have had various backgrounds satisfactory enough to disqualify them from being promoters or managers of a company in Ghana as stipulated in Section 186 of the Companies Act 1963, Act 179.
The company’s statutory violation became a subject matter of a court ruling in Bolgatanga when it challenged a neighbouring company; Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited in a Bolgatanga High Court seeking an injunction on its operations for alleged trespass into its [Cassius] newly acquired concession.
The ruling stated that it was ‘a more damage matter’ to have been stopped by the Minerals Commission for the company’s failure to have obtained an exploration permit before commencing its operations in the area.
Consequently, the court dismissed Cassius’ motion for an injunction.
NORPRA, which is also a civil society organisation working to promote peace and security, sustainable mining and the socio-economic transformation in northern Ghana, said it sent a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to assess whether their findings about the named Directors and Shareholders with the various fraudulent and criminal backgrounds were the persons manning the Cassius Mining Company in Ghana.
According to NORPRA, this will enable them assess how qualified they were to have ever promoted a company in the Republic of Ghana.
The organisation said it was worried about the persons with criminal backgrounds, especially in the area of hard drug, functioning as Directors and Shareholders of a mining company and indicated that such people were likely to influence crime, insecurity and violence resulting in possible threats to national security.
In the petition to the IGP, NORPRA exhibited registration certificates of the company bearing names of the said Directors and Shareholders and indicated their respective crimes committed and source of information on their cases.
When the GNA contacted Mr Kenneth Singah, Public Relations officer of Cassius Mining Company, he denied the allegations against the Company and its Directors.
He refuted allegations of fraudulent background of its directors and said the company operated with three directors including; Mr James Arkoudis who is a lawyer, Mr Joseph Anthony Karam and Mr Kofi Ntim a business man who resides in Ghana.
Mr Singah said efforts were being made to rectify whatever problems they were and restore the company’s license to enable it to resume business.
Mr Kofi Ntim, one of the Directors of the company, speaking to the GNA in an interview via Telephone, challenged NORPRA to prove the allegations with classified evidence