Sequel to the burning of excavators on what is described as XTRA GOLD MINING LIMITED acclaimed concessions. The so-called Company released a Press Statement on the exercise on the 17th May, 2021, that is, a day after the incidence.

A lot of furore has been created by persons behind the “Xtra Gold” in an effort ostensibly to court undeserved public sympathy in order to put government in a bad light in its desire to rid the country’s landscape of the disgraceful galamsey. It has therefore become only expedient and prudent to interrogate the said Press Statement of the so-called “XTRA GOLD” and pigeonhole these assertions in their proper perspectives.

I write this piece in my capacity as the elected Assembly Member of Kwabeng, the operational headquarters of the XTRA GOLD. I am currently in my third consecutive four-year term in that stead as the Assembly Member. I am convinced that I have in depth knowledge of the operations of Xtra Gold.

The statement claims that the company is “is a legally large - scale lease holder of 5 concessions and has all the necessary agreement permits to conduct mining operations”. By this, one would be quick to conclude that Xtra Gold would have fulfilled all obligations to be a legal entity. Such conclusion may be accurate or inaccurate depending on the nature of facts available to the protagonist.

However, for reasons that the Xtra Gold’s EPA compliance were so poor, I, in my capacity as the People’s Representative, personally, began to investigate the Xtra Gold’s competence from the necessary statutory agencies to ascertain their business objectives. I did so due to the amount of devastation they have caused and continue to do to the Kwabeng Community and its environs. Sometime, in November, 2013, I personally engaged the services of Lawyers to conduct a Search on X – TRA Gold Mining Limited the results of which revealed that the Xtra Gold Mining Company Ltd was not duly incorporated in accordance with law.

The Registrar – General revealed in their response to the Search in a letter dated 5th December, 2013, that “Search conducted on records do not show any trace of the … company, it appears the said company is not registered at our outfit”.

I continued with my efforts to get to the bottom of legitimacy of the activities of Xtra Gold for which I applied to the Minerals Commission, to ascertain the person or entity that owned the Mining Lease at Kwabeng. I conducted the said Search at the Minerals Commission sometime in December 2013. The Minerals Commission duly acknowledged my enquiries and responded to same. The Minerals Commission’s response to me in January, 2014 revealed that XTRA Gold Mining Limited was the holder of the Kwabeng Mining Lease after it was transferred from Goldenrae Resources Limited. It is interesting that the search also revealed and stated that the Directors of the XTRA Gold Mining to be James Longshore, Victor Nkansah and one Daniel Earle.

The Minerals Commission was however categorical that; “This search report issued by the Commission is based on information available to it”.

I wish to add that the Minerals Commission added to its response to me, the Mining Lease Agreement entered on the 26th day of July 1989 between the Government of Republic of Ghana and Goldenrae Mining Company Limited. In addition, the Minerals Commission added to me a correspondence from the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, (as it then was) addressed to the Managing Director of a company by name XTRA GOLD RESOURCES CORPORATION, a Canadian Company whose address is Suite 207 – 251 Davenport, Toronto, ON MSR 119, Canada.

The said letter was a response to a letter from the said XTRA Gold Resources Corporation based in Toronto, Canada, dated 11th June, 2004 requesting Government of Ghana’s Consent to become a majority Shareholder Controller of Goldenrae Mining Company Limited. The said letter from the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, and, addressed to “THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, XTRA GOLD RESOURCES CORPORATION” dated October 17, 2005, and, titled “RE: APPLICATION BY XTRA GOLD RESOURCES FOR GOVERNMENT CONSENT TO BECOME A MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER CONTROLLER OF GOLDENRAE MINING COMPANY LIMITED”. It was signed by Prof. Dominic K. Fobih, then the sector’s minister.

Once again, the contents of the said correspondence are, to the effect, that the Xtra Gold had only, applied for Consent of the Republic of Ghana to be made a Majority Shareholder Controller of Goldenrae Mining Company Ltd. In fact, it is worthy to note that the Government of Ghana was emphatic in its response to Xtra Gold Resources Corporation that;

“However, in view of the record of poor performance of Goldenrae since the grant of its two mining leases in 1989, this consent is conditional upon Xtra Gold ensuring that Goldenrae would commence and continue mining operations on its concessions within 2 years from the date of this consent”.

Similarly, and, with my personal knowledge of companies that had previously carried out mining activities on Kwabeng land, such as Sun Gold Ghana Limited, Goldenrae Mining Limited and Shefford Sharks Mining Limited, I, first conducted a similar Search at the Registrar General’s Department on the company of Sun Gold Ghana Limited. The Registrar General in its response to me on the status of Goldenrae Limited said without mincing words that it had no records on Goldenrae.

I have been compelled to write this piece only to respond to the allegation that “the company is legally large – scale lease holder … and has all the necessary agreement permits to conduct mining operations” My checks from the relevant state institutions reveal that XTRA GOLD claims to have come into operational existence in the year 2006. XTRA Gold has been a political chameleon engaged in political shenanigans for survival. Thus, it has been successful in its operations as a result of political leanings. Sometime in or about the year 2013 when I became suspicious of the mining activities and operations of XTRA Gold, I took it upon myself to ascertain its existence and the personalities behind it. My checks revealed that there is no evidence on record, that Goldenrae Mining Company Limited was ever incorporated as a legal entity in accordance with the laws of Ghana. The fact that Goldenrae Mining Company Limited had succeeded in entering into a Lease Agreement with the Government of Ghana did not derogate from the need for the said Goldenrae Mining Company Limited to have been properly incorporated under the laws of Ghana. I wish to say that when Xtra Gold makes such claims, such as, that, “Xtra Gold formerly Goldenrae”, such statements are very misleading untruths. The reason, is that, the Xtra Gold Resources Corporation that applied for Government’s Consent to be the Majority Shareholder Controller at the time was a foreign company. To be precise, it was a Canadian Company resident in Canada. It was not duly incorporated in Ghana. Also, there is no evidence that Goldenrae Mining Company Limited was changed to Xtra – Gold Mining Limited. The only evidence so far giving records I have obtained from the relevant statutory institutions is what is purportedly contained in the purported Resolution which purports to have the then Minister, Prof. Dominic K. Fobih allegedly signing as the Government’s authorised representative, a situation on the Resolution appearing to be strange. In fact, once when the Registrar General claimed that Xtra Gold was registered contrary to their earlier correspondence to me that Xtra Gold was not registered, I wrote severally to the Registrar General, the last of which I wrote to the Department on the 30 April 2015. I personally handed over to the Registrar – General, where I had put on record to the Registrar – General categorically, thus; “Sir, I respectfully want to put on record that if by the expiration of 14 days I do not receive your response to these requests, I will conclude undoubtedly that the contents of your letter dated 15th December, 2014 claiming to have found the relevant information on Xtra Gold Company Limited were untrue and only intent on and made to deceive the general public”.

Another irony of the Xtra Gold is that it has claimed and continues to claim that it passed a Resolution where Goldenrae Mining Company Limited changed its name from Goldenrae to Xtra Gold pursuant to the then Company Code 1963. That Resolution is supposed to have been passed and dated sometime in November, 2005. What is surprising in the alleged Resolution is particularly that the then Sector Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines – Hon. Prof. Dominic K. Fobih - is said to have signed the Resolution as the Government of Ghana’s Authorised Representative.

This assertion may be against the rule in that the Government is not a shareholder in the Goldenrae Mining Company Limited, neither is/was Xtra – Gold Mining Limited nor XTRA – GOLD RESOURCES CORPORATION.

I wish to say that granted, which is absolutely denied, that Xtra Gold Mining Company were duly incorporated, it has by itself failed to carry out any mining activity in the area. It has rather engaged the distinct companies, and, sublet the lands to them. These distinct companies’ officers will put on the uniform of Xtra Gold to make it appear to the public that they are the staff and production managers of Xtra Gold, when Xtra Gold knows too well that such is only to pull the wool over the eyes of the Community.

The modus operandi of the Xtra Gold is that, they by themselves do not engage in the mining activities but have rather sublet portions of the Community’s lands to these mining companies. The so – called sub-lessees are then made to put on the uniforms of the Xtra Gold to represent and show to the public generally that they are employees of the Xtra Gold when indeed that representation is not true. Another modus of the Xtra Gold operations on the community and on the Republic as a whole, is that, they have carved out certain portions of the Community’s lands to other legal entities some of which are KAGYAM MINING Limited, Okoampa Mining Limited, Q8 Mining Company Limited. In fact, the Kagyam Mining Company is owned and directed by Madam Kate Gyamfua who is the National Women’s Organiser of the New Patriotic Party. As a consequence of these illegal activities of these mining activities, the Defendants and their agents have succeeded in polluting the entire water bodies in the Community and continue to do so with impunity. They have equally devasted the environment with equal measure of impunity.

Similarly, the Xtra Gold and their agents in this illegality, have destroyed the land and crops thus denying some members of the community of their livelihoods. Yet, the Defendants have no policy on reclamation after these their nefarious activities in the area and they have displaced several members of the community.

In the same vein, on the 6 July 2018, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources suspended the Mineral Right of Xtra Gold Mining Limited for the reason that “… the operations of Xtra Gold Mining Limited is causing devastation to the environment”.

However, and regrettably, though, barely a month after the Ministry’s letter suspending the Mineral Right, the same Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in a letter dated 13th August, 2018, wrote to restore the Mining Right. This is in spite of the fact that, the devastation culminating in the earlier suspension by the same Ministry had not been addressed by the Xtra Gold Mining Limited.

Nevertheless, Xtra Gold constantly denied and continue to deny the information that I have garnered from the relevant institutions on the legitimacy of their existence and operations for which I have caused an action to be commenced against it at the appropriate forum. However, since the issue of its legal existence is still a subject matter before the court, I shall rather defer any opinion on same for now in order not to court any contempt proceedings from the revered judicial system.

I will rather be happy if Kate will proceed to the law courts to seek redress so that I can challenge her on her allegations, otherwise she should let sleeping dogs lie. It is on the basis of the results of the information gathered that I commenced an action against the Xtra Gold.

The Government must, therefore, as a matter of urgency in its drive to rid the country of the debilitating menace of galamsey stop the Xtra Gold from operations completely because per its operations it is the chief Galamsey operator on the Ghanaian landscape.

The casualties are the contractors and not Xtra Gold and if any tear is to be shed at all, then the contractors deserve that sympathy. It is an undisputable fact that the rental bills of such heavy earth moving machines takes a greater toll on the finances of the contractors in meeting the 20% target but the Xtra Gold has nothing to bother because rain or shine the 20% is collected.

Per the obnoxious contractual agreement between the contractors and Xtra Gold, the company can aptly be described as a legally registered large scale galamsey company. 1% of the 20% is meant to cater for the reclamation of the mined-out lands by the Xtra Gold itself but the quantum of the 1% is siphoned every 3 months to Canada the home of the cheating expatriate bosses of the company, stoutly defended and protected by the local staff who act as collecting agents for the company.

The result is that, the entire landscape is overwhelmed with craters of varied sizes and which has claimed a lot of precious but innocent human lives. The contractors only carry out the extraction of the ore and leave the craters, but the Xtra Gold has shirked the reclamation obligations in its entirety.

Writes Oteng Adjei, Assembly Member-Kwabeng & President Concerned Citizens of the Atewa Landscape

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