New owners of Prestea Mines lack funds-Minerals Commission

Martin Ayisi — Acting CEO of Minerals Commission
The Minerals Commission of Ghana has accused the new owners of the Prestea-Bogoso Mine Limited (PBL) in the Western Region, Future Global Resources Limited (FGR), of lacking the financial capacity to invest in and turn around the fortunes of the mine.

The mining sector regulator said the company had failed to invest “a penny” in the century-old underground mine since the acquisition in July last year, although it promised to raise and invest about $28 million in the mine.

In a notice to FGR, a copy of which has been obtained by the Daily Graphic, the commission said the company had 120 days, starting from June 18, to remedy all its regulatory breaches or risk losing its licence.

The commission said in the notice, signed by its acting Chief Executive Officer, Martin Kwaku Ayisi, that FGR admitted, prior to the approval of the acquisition, that the investment was crucial to reinvigorate the mine to help raise production from 40,000 ounces of gold in 2020 to around 100,000 ounces by December this year.

It, however, said it was now clear that: “Blue International Holdings Limited (Blue) and FGR has no financial capacity to invest in the mine and also made statements or provided information regarding the financial capacity or resources available to FGR to invest in the Bogoso/Prestea Mines to the Minerals Commission, which the company knew or ought to have known to be materially false at the time Blue applied to become the controller of FGR. In other words, FGR did not have the financial capacity to operate the Bogoso-Prestea mine,” the notice said.

The notice was signed by the Minerals Commission CEO on behalf of the Minister of Lands and Natural resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor,

Final warning

The commission said the notice was also the final warning to FGR to post the environmental bond as well as pay its mineral rights fee to be able to receive a permit.

It noted that the company had breached stated regulations by failing to pay the mandatory annual fee and posting the environmental bond, in spite of being granted a request for extension.

“You are required to remedy the breaches within 120 days from the date of this notice. Please take note that failure to remedy the breaches within the time specified in this notice will result in the termination of your mining leases,” the commission said.

FGR response

Meanwhile, when contacted, FGR said it had begun the process to acquire the permit and post the environmental bond this week.

On the investment, the company said in the emailed responses that: “$12million had either come directly from Blue or guaranteed by Blue. “

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