The CSOs namely the Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis, Centre for Public Interest Law, and the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining, therefore, called for the cessation of the issuance of licenses for such activities, including surface mining.
According to the Associate Executive Director of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the government has already granted mining exploration rights to a mining company to explore gold near the Mole National Park despite banning prospecting activities in forest reserves.
“Government has also granted mining exploration rights to a mining company to explore gold near the Mole National Park. The President has, among other things, stated that mining becomes a danger to society when the land is degraded after the minerals are extracted with toxic materials,” she said as Ghana joins the World to mark Earth Day, which is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
She said “We, therefore, call on the government to halt attempts to mine forest reserves. Government should also place a moratorium on the granting of mining lease permits for all surface mining in Ghana.”
Minerals Commission denies allegations
But Martin Ayisi, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, said no permit has been granted to companies to mine.
In a statement, he said: “It has come to the attention of the Minerals Commission that certain civil society organisations (CSOs) have alleged that mining permits have been issued for mining in or near the Mole National Park in the Savanna Region.
“This allegation and/or assertion is not the case…No such mining permit has been issued for this purpose.”
The statement added that “as the repository of records of all mineral rights in Ghana”, it “entreats the general public, particularly CSOs, who are partners and have been working closely with the Commission over the years, to seek clarifications from it before going public.”
Govt bans prospecting activities in forest reserves
The government has placed a temporal ban on all forms of prospecting activities within forest reserves across the country as it tackles illegal mining.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, issued the order on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
“The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources hereby directs persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in Forest Reserves, with or without legal authorization, to suspend such activities until further notice…,” a statement released by the minister said.
“The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, accordingly, hereby gives persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in Forest Reserves, seven (7) days from the date of the publication of this notice, to cease their operations and evacuate their equipment accordingly,” it added.
Persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in Forest Reserves have been given seven (7) days to cease their operations and evacuate their equipment accordingly.
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