Reconsider granting of licence for mining in Draw River Forest Reserve  – GEAG

The Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group (GEAG) and its partners, has peti­tioned President Nana Addo Dank­wa Akufo-Addo to reconsider the granting of license for the mining of Diamonds, Lithium and Gold in Draw River Forest Reserve.

The group expresses concern over the mining rights granted by the Minerals Commission to Bet­terland Ghana Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tower Assets Ltd, to mine in substantial portion of the Draw River Forest Reserve.

A petition signed by Ms Eliza­beth Allua Vaal, Executive Director of GEAG, and other leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals, noted that the license, which would expire in August, 2033, stands contrary to the reality of the Ghanaian situation on environmental stewardship.

The group also noted that the Draw River Forest Reserve, at Dwira area, in Nzema East District of the Western Region, has been designated a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA), due to the presence of rare, threatened, and endemic species, diverse non-timber forest species that are collected by rural population for medicinal and consumptive uses.

“It is currently the only undis­turbed forest at the Dwira, where illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, has destroyed and polluted rivers and streams, changed the landscape with open pits that poses existential threat to the people, especially children,” the GEAG indicated.

It noted that the recent floods in the area highlight the constant threat the people face from the combined impact of unprecedented environ­mental destruction, global warming, and the intentional poisoning of the once-productive arable land and cocoa farms.

The petition recalled that in Ghana, the Environmental (Min­ing in Forest Reserves) Regulation, 2022 Legislative Instrument (L.I 2462) prohibits mining in restricted or protected areas, including forest reserves.

Additionally, the statement said that section 3(1) of L.I 2462 states: “A person shall not issue a license or permit to any person to undertake mining activity … unless with writ­ten approval by the President in the national interest,” meaning section 3 (2) of LI 2462 has been abridged.

The group wanted to know what national interest does destroying these critical national treasures for private gain serve the country.

The GEAG observed that amidst all these, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, at the recent 19th Session of the United Nations Fo­rum on Forests (UNFF19), in New York, US, called on world leaders to increase financing for forest action in order to tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.


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