The Executive Director of the Nature and Development Foundation says he is not surprised at a company’s decision to seek permission for a mining license for the Kakum National Park in the Central Region. Dr Mustapha Seidu highlighted that the floodgates for the depletion of the country’s forest reserves were opened with the enactment of Legal Instrument (L.I)2462, specifically the ‘Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations,’ passed in November 2022.
Since the passage of the ‘Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations [LI 2462], numerous mining permits have been granted to various companies, prompting concern from many civil society organizations. Kakum National Park is one of approximately 14 reserves for which mining applications have been submitted to the Minerals Commission.
The recent application by the High Street Company has stirred public outcry regarding the future of the forest, which has long served as a national asset. The Minerals Commission, in a subsequent communique, confirmed the rejection of the application. “The Commission wishes to inform the CSOs and the public that the application of High Street Mining Company Limited was rejected and therefore cannot be processed or considered whatsoever. Consequently, the Commission has deleted the application from the online mining cadastre.”
But in an interview on JoyNews‘ News Desk, Dr. Mustapha Seidu remarked that such incidents may recur if the regulations governing mining in Ghana’s forests remain unchanged. “The audacity to even think about applying for a mining lease in the Kakum National Park is worrying. It just tells you that there is no forest reserve in this country that is protected from mining. Every forest reserve is a candidate mining site,” Dr Seidu explained on Monday, November 13.
At a stakeholder engagement on the new Regulation on Mining in Ghana’s Forest Reserve last week, some CSOs warned that failure to scrap this Legislative Instrument (LI 2462) will cause more destruction of forests.
By: Kenneth Awotwe Darko