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NMA challenges EPA’s suspending of AMR Gold operations

June 2, 2015 By Musa Conteh

The Director of Community Relations and Communications at the National Minerals Agency (NMA) has said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has no legal mandate to suspend the activities of AMR Gold Exploration Company.

Ibrahim Satti Kamara’s reaction came following a recent media alert that was circulated by the agency claiming to have suspended AMR Gold for allegedly contravening Part Four, Section 3(1) of the EPA Act of 2008.

According to Kamara, who was speaking on Radio Democracy’s ‘Good Morning Salone’ program yesterday, the said provision in the EPA Act states that, “Except as otherwise provided in this Act and notwithstanding the provisions of any enactment, no person shall undertake or cause to be undertaken any of the projects set out in the First Schedule unless he holds a valid license in respect of such project.”

According to him, the said provision does not in any way apply to AMR Gold as the company is yet an exploration outfit and that the Act is not referring to their activities.

He maintained that the EPA’s reference to Section 4(1) of the EPA Regulations of 2013 is not applicable to the activities of AMR Gold as the EPA Act and Mines and Minerals Act of 2009 make it abundantly clear that exploration companies are not required by law to take the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) licenses.

He said by the provisions set out in the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009, it is the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources that has the legal mandate to suspend the mining license of a company, and not EPA. “Although the EPA is working towards achieving a sanitized and favourable environment, should the agency deem it fit to suspend the activities of any company, it must be channeled through the Mines Ministry,” he stressed.

The EIA Requirements, according to Kamara, mainly focus on a company of a second renewal as opposed to AMR Gold, which he said is still an exploration company.

Chief Finance Officer of AMR Gold, Mohamed Daffae, said the company is a law abiding entity that will never go against the laws of the country in relation to their activities.

He said they are an exploration company but currently on evaluation before applying for a mining license.