The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has directed the Minerals and Forestry Commissions to publish the list of all companies holding prospecting and reconnaissance licences in forest reserves.
The Forestry Commission is supposed to undertake this exercise by Friday, May 7, 2021.
Sector Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor, made this known at the Ministerâ€™s Press briefing held on Friday, April 30, 2021, in Accra.
The move, the Minister said will ensure â€œthe highest standard of transparency.â€
He also indicated that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has designated forest reserves and water bodies as â€˜RED Zonesâ€™ and has directed strict enforcement of the ban on prospecting in such areas.
The Minister further disclosed that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has constituted a monitoring and evaluation team to ensure the enforcement of these measures.
He said, â€œPeople could report persons involved in illegal mining to the desk at the Ministry for prompt actionâ€.
On his part, the Minister for Defence, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul warned that anyone who will go back to mine on the water bodies after the current surgical operation will have himself or herself to blame.
Below is a release issued by the Ministry on the directive:
RE: DIRECTIVE TO SUSPEND RECONNAISSANCE AND /OR PROSPECTING ACTIVITIES IN ALL FOREST RESERVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
I refer to the directive issued on 21st April, 2021 and published on the 23rd April, 2021 under the hand of the Hon. Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
Pursuant to the directive above stated, as from today Friday 30th April, 2021, all Prospecting and/or Reconnaissance activities in all Forest Reserves in Ghana, are to cease and all equipment for such purposes evacuated.
Regional Security Councils across the country, which are already mandated to enforce all the laws, regulations and/or directives in the mining sector, have been put in readiness to ensure enforcement of these directives. In this regard, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, met with all Regional Ministers and relevant sector Ministers on Wednesday 28th April, 2021 at the Jubilee House, during which meeting, H.E the President designated Forest Reserves and Waterbodies as â€œRED ZONESâ€ and directed strict enforcement accordingly.
Additionally, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has constituted a monitoring and evaluation team to ensure the enforcement of these measures. The Team has set up a situation room at the Mezzanine Floor of Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) which will be operational on weekdays from Tuesday 4th May, 2021 between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm. Citizens, civil society, the media and the general public are encouraged to report any flouting of these directives or any other illegality relating to the mining sector.
The situation room may be contacted via telephone numbers 020 5001978 / 0303 941743 and e-mail â€“ email@example.com.
Also, in accordance with the highest standards of transparency, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has tasked the Minerals and Forestry Commissions to publish the list of companies holding prospecting and or reconnaissance licenses in Forest Reserves by close of working day on Friday, 7th May, 2021.
Whiles the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is encouraged by the response of the nation, the ongoing operations of the security agencies, and, in some cases modest progress in this endeavour, we continue to call on the Ghanaian Public to support our efforts to sanitize the small scale mining sector and reiterates the overriding necessity for a broad-based, non-partisan and collective strive to rid the sector of illegalities which continue to threaten our very survival.
HON. BENITO OWUSU-BIO, MP
DEPUTY MINISTER -DESIGNATE
HEAD OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION TEAM