Minerals Commission still permitting mining near critical water bodies – A Rocha Ghana


Conservation group, A Rocha Ghana says it has evidence to suggest that the Minerals Commission has given out several licenses in 2022 and 2023 that straddle critical water bodies including the Ankobra, Pra, Tano and Offin basins.

President Akufo Addo in April 2021 mapped out what government describes as the red zones for mining, strictly banning mining activities in or near water bodies and in forest reserves.

About a week ago, Deputy Lands Minister, George Mireku Duker, expressed satisfaction with the enforcement of the directive, adding that most of the river bodies are beginning to regain their integrity.

In spite of these directives, Luv News investigations have revealed recent footage of the River Ankobra regaining its ecological integrity is a mirage as Chang fan operators mine directly on the river bed at various sections close to Axim and Prestea-Himan in the Western region.

The latest to join the fray is conservation group, A Rocha Ghana. The group says it is in possession of at least 6 licenses issued by the Minerals Commission in spite of the restrictive measures in riverine areas.

The rivers include the Ankobra, Pra, Tano and Ofin, with licences such as:
• Across River Ankobra (Cape North Ltd; 17 Jan 2023 to 16 Jan 2053, application date 22)
• ML2/47 alongside and across River Tano, and entering into the Boin Tano forest reserve (Unipower Mining Company Ltd, 19 May 2022 to 18 May 2032, application date 26 Aug 2019)
• ML2/46 alongside River Pra (Unipower Mining Company Ltd, 19 May 2022 – 18 May 2032, application date 19 Feb 2022).
• SSMP/5/1760 across River Offin (Open Job Mining, 6 Jul 2022 to 5 Jul 2027, application date 1 Jul 2020)
• SSMP/6/2291 across River Offin (Berksgold, 18 Jul 2022 to 17 Jul 2027, application date 3 Apr 2020)
• MC/SSMP/AR/939 across River Offin (K Kukom Ventures, 8 Jul 2022 to 7 Jul 2027, application date
28 Dec 2021).

Deputy Director of the group, Daryl Bosu, says it is incomprehensible why the Minerals Commission is issuing licenses alongside and across rivers when the devastation of gold mining is now so clear.

In terms of the ecological integrity of Ghana’s forest reserves A Rocha noted that some new forest entry permits were granted in spite of assurances by government that forest reserves were being cordoned off.

In view of this, the group argues that moving forward, the Forestry Commission should not issue forest entry permits for purposes of mining in forest reserves adding that some mining firms such as Asante Gold and Koantwi Mining Company were granted large portions of reserves in spite of government’s directive to halt forest entry permits.

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