The government has directed the Ghana Manganese Company Limited (GMCL) to stop all mining operations, exploration and export of minerals with immediate effect.
This was announced by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, at a news conference in Accra on Monday.
Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh said the decision was taken after several infractions were found upon the completion of a preliminary technical and financial audit of GMCL's operations.
He mentioned that the financial audit, which looked at data and other related documents covering all transactions in the operation of GMCL, revealed several losses to the state between 2010 and 2017.
Citing examples, he indicated that the government had lost $12.8 million in royalty due, $79 in corporate taxes due, $6.1 million in dividends declared and $ 259 million in revenue residing offshore.
He added that, a look at the prices for manganese as declared by GMCL, showed that contrary to the sales agreement between Manganese Trading Limited (MTL) and GMCL, price and that production of manganese was manipulated which resulted in a calculated loss to the state conservatively estimated at $3.64 million.
"The audit also noted major infrastructural deficiencies as a result of GMCL operations; primarily, road and rail infrastructures are stretched beyond capacity and are close to complete failure," he echoed.
Aside the finding of the audit report, the Minister said there was ample evidence of lack of compliance and circumvention of the local content policy by GMCL.
He assured the public that the Ministry and the Minerals Commission and other relevant stakeholders, would commence discussions with GMCL to resolve these and all other outstanding issues in the course of the shutdown.
The Minister observed that, similar audits would be done across all mining companies and the findings made known to the public.
In January 2019, the GMCL was directed by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to halt its mining operation to enable the State undertake a thorough and uninterrupted technical and financial audit.