In a joint press statement, the Media Coalition Against Galamsey and OccupyGhana have made an urgent call for legislation to prohibit mining in all forest reserves and biodiversity areas in Ghana.
The organizations express deep concern over reports that mining rights have been granted or recognized over the Kakum Forest.
While acknowledging the Minerals Commission’s rejection of the mining application in Kakum National Park, the press release highlights the need for clarity regarding the type of application and whether the company involved possesses permits from relevant authorities such as the Forestry Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The joint statement stresses the importance of a legislative solution to prevent mining and drilling activities in forest reserves.
The organizations call upon Parliament to swiftly pass an act that prohibits the granting of any mining or drilling permit, license, lease, or associated activities in significant biodiversity areas and forest reserves.
To achieve this, the press release suggests the revocation of the Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations (LI 2462), which grants the President the power to approve mining activities in globally significant biodiversity areas.
The existence of this regulation is believed to have encouraged the current mining application.
To ensure that the government cannot evade the proposed law by simply revoking the status of current forest reserves, the organizations recommend that decisions regarding the cessation of forest reserves should involve the advice of the Forestry Commission and Lands Commission. Additionally, approval from Parliament, public hearings, and engagement with local chiefs and communities should be mandatory. Such steps would require amending the Forest Act, 1927 (Cap 157) and removing the President’s power to revoke forest reserve status through an Executive Instrument.
The press release also demands the explicit revocation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument (EI 144 of 2022), which previously revoked the forest reserve status of the Achimota Forest.
The Media Coalition Against Galamsey and OccupyGhana call on the government to take swift action to protect Ghana’s forest reserves and biodiversity areas by enacting legislation that prohibits mining activities in these critical ecosystems.
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