Investigate mining in Tano Nimiri Forest – Amenfi West MP

The Member of Parliament for the Amenfi West Constituency, Eric Afful, has called for a full scale investigation into the issuance of mining licence to Akonto Mines to undertake small-scale mining in the TanoNimiri Forest.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmaker said the investigation is critical to establish the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the licence by the Minerals Commission at a time mining in forest reserves has been prohibited.

When concluded, Mr Afful believes findings and recommendations of the investigation would help end the “wanton destruction” of the country’s forests and their natural cover, river bodies, farmlands and plantations.

“I have been informed about these vicious characters purporting to have acquired legal documents from the Minerals Commission to engage in small-scale mining in the forest.

“I vehemently reject the claim that the Minerals Commission granted the purported licence to such an exploitative company to destroy the forest reserve,” MrAfful said in a statement he issued last Friday. 

The TanoNimiri Forest, the MP said, was a concession granted to timber processing company, Samartex Timber and Plywood Company Limited by the Forestry Commission and wondered how same forest has been given out to be mined. 

In his view, the encroachment of the forest by the mining firm could push Samartex out of business and lead to the retrenchment of at least half of the company’s staff. 

“My concern has been amplified owing to the fact that Samartex is likely to lay off more than half of its employees if such activities are not curtailed.”

He also fears the security of the area could be compromised if as there is a likelihood of a clash between the security guards of the mining firm and the forest guards. 

“There is the real likelihood that conflict may ensue between the security guards of Akonta Mines, forest guards of the Forestry Commission, security guards and employees of Samartex which may subsequently destabilise the peace we enjoy in the municipalities involved,” he said.

In this regard, he said, the investigation must include the ministries of National Security and Lands and Natural Resources, the Forestry and Minerals Commissions and chiefs of the area. 

The Tano Nimiri Forest lies between Amenfi West and Aowin municipalities in the Western and the Western North regions respectively.

BY JULIUS PETETSI

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