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Civil society groups agitate against moves to mine in Tano Offin Forest Reserve

General News

Two civil society organizations, Forest Watch Ghana and KASSA Initiative, have expressed worry over possible gold exploration activities which could soon take off soon in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve in the Ashanti region.

Two civil society organizations, Forest Watch Ghana and KASSA Initiative, have expressed worry over possible gold exploration activities which could soon take off soon in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve in the Ashanti region.

 

According to the groups, front liners of a company which is yet to be confirmed are seriously working their way from the top to secure clearance to enter into the reserve with heavy mining equipment and machines to engage in gold mining.

Apart from being a protected reserve, the Tano Offin Forest Reserve is also one of UNESCO’s thirty Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas in the country (GSBAs).

Leadership of the two civil society organizations involved in forestry advocacy in the country argue that GSBAs are completely restricted areas from all forms of human activities let alone mining.

They have therefore cautioned the government to be mindful of the negative impacts that mining in such a reserve will have on surrounding forest fringe communities in particular and the country as a whole.

They have also called on leadership of the Forestry Commission to live up to its mandate of protecting the nation’s forests resources.

Reliable information available from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources indicates that owners of the company seeking to mine in the forest have strong ties with the presidency. It is therefore feared that they will influence technocrats at the ministry and the Forestry Commission to seal the deal through.

The Daily Statesman can confirm the groups’ suspicion upon further investigations and follow up to the Nkawie Forest District.

The paper has sighted heavy duty equipment, bearing the name of Engineers and Planners, a company that belongs to Ibrahim Mahama, brother of the president, at the outskirt of Kyirayaso community, about three and a half kilometers away from Nyinahini in the Atwima Mponua District, apparently awaiting final order to move into action.

The Gyasehene of Kyirayaso, Nana Gyewu, who spoke to Daily Statesman reporters during their visit to the community, disclosed that Engineers and Planners, upon arrival of the equipment, approached traditional leaders of the town with their intention to mine bauxite in the said forest reserve.

He added that the company started prospecting in the reserve over six years ago but is now determined to go into full operations this year.

The Gyasehene also confirmed that the team promised to go into negotiations with the chiefs as soon as they get final approval from the government.

The leadership of Forest Watch Ghana says the same company which is trying to enter the Tano Offin Forests Reserve has also targeted the Fure River Forest Reserve in the Western Region, as soon as they succeed with this move.