The Minerals Commission has dismissed claims that permits have been issued for mining near the Mole National Park. The Commission said in a statement that the claims are untrue and should be disregarded.
“It has come to the attention of the Minerals Commission that certain Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have alleged that mining permits have been issued for mining in or near the Mole National Park in the Savannah Region. This allegation and/or assertion is not the case. No such Mining Permit has been issued for this purpose.”Mr Martin Ayisi, Acting CEO of Minerals Commission.
The Commission further entreated the general public, particularly CSOs who are partners, to seek clarifications from it before going public.
Earlier on, three CSOs had accused the government of granting permits to mining companies near the Mole National Park. The CSOs are the Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEIA), Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) and the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM).
“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.
“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.”Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the Associate Executive Director of WACAM said.
The allegation came days after government directed people undertaking mining reconnaissance and prospecting in forest reserves across the country to suspend their activities indefinitely.
The three CSOs’ clarify their allegation
The three CSOs’ have issued a rejoinder to clarify their press statement following the Mineral Commission’s statement on the matter. The organizations explained that their press statement did not say that mining permit has been issued for mining in the Mole National Park.
Instead, their statement stated inter alia that “Government has also granted mining exploration right to Azuma mining company to explore for gold near the Mole National Park”. They went on to say that state institutions entrusted with the responsibility to protect the integrity of our forest reserves and national parks have failed to exercise due care. This has led to increased mining operations in forest reserves that the nation is grappling with today, they added.
Furthermore, they commended government for issuing a directive to suspend reconnaissance and /or prospecting activities in all forest reserves across the country. However, they emphasized that the granting of exploratory permit near the Mole National Park has the tendency to affect the integrity of it. They, therefore, reiterate the call on government to stop mining activities in forest reserves.
Relatedly, Former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fusieni, revealed that prospecting in forest reserves is against the laws in Ghana. For this reason, he believes the government’s new directive to suspend such activities “until further notice” is ridiculous.
Inusah Fusieni added that the issuance of prospecting licenses for entry into these reserves is indicative of the complicity. This makes ensuring success in the fight against galamsey a near-impossibility, he pointed out.
He, therefore, encouraged the sector minister to outrightly and immediately ban the practice.
Read also: Gather political courage to fight Galamsey– Dr. Jatoe
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