Gov’t suspends reconnaissance, prospecting activities in forest reserves

Accra, – Government has asked all mining companies and individuals undertaking reconnaissance and/ or prospecting activities, with or without legal authorisation in forest reserves to halt such activities until further notice.

A statement signed and issued by Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in Accra, on Thursday, said the directive was in pursuant of recommendations reached at the recent National Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining.

The statement said, “Whereas the final communique of the National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining held at the Accra International Conference Centre on 14th and 15th April 2021, in paragraph 12, “emphatically charged the government to take steps to put in place systems that would rigidly apply the law.”

The Dialogue noted particularly the sanctions and penalties imposed by Act 995, to all those who infringe the law, irrespective of political colour or socio-economic status or class, saying that the better placed in society who ought to know better should have the most punitive of the penalties applied to them.”

The statement said, “Whereas the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has a mandate to ensure the sustainable management and utilization of the nation’s lands, forests and wildlife resources as well as the efficient management of the mineral resources for socio-economic growth and development, the Ministry has taken note of the unfortunate and unlawful practice of some persons and/or companies acquiring licences, under the pretext of undertaking reconnaissance and/or prospecting in forest reserves and yet proceed to engage in illegal mining with its obvious adverse consequences on the environment.”

“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,” the statement emphasised.

The Minister further directed the Minerals Commission not to accept, process and/or recommend the grant, including renewal and/or extension of reconnaissance and prospecting licences in forest reserves.

“For the avoidance of doubt, except as directed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in writing, all activities and operations in respect of any reconnaissance and/or prospecting licences in forest reserves are hereby suspended until further notice.”

The Minister, however, gave persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in forest reserves seven days from the date of the publication of the notice, to cease their operations and evacuate their equipment.

The Minister has, therefore, requested the various Regional Security Councils to strictly enforce the directive.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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