The Minerals Commission of Ghana has reacted to allegations made by the Member of Parliament for Tamale North Constituency, Alhassan Suhuyini, in respect of the issuance of a Forest Entry Permit to Messrs Koantwi Company Limited.
In a statement sighted by Kencity Media Ltd, signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Martin K. Ayisi, the Minerals Commission set the records straight on the issuance of the Forest Entry Permit and the various allegations made by the NDC Member of Parliament
Below is the Minerals Commission’s statement:
29th August, 2022
RE: MINING IN FOREST RESERVES
The attention of the Minerals Commission has been drawn to another publication by the Member of Parliament for Tamale North Constituency, Hon. Alhassan Suhuyini, in respect of the issuance of a Forest Entry Permit to Messrs Koantwi Company Limited. This was after the Commission had refuted his earlier allegation that the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, had granted prospecting licences to some companies to prospect for minerals in Forest Reserves.
First of all, it is important to emphasise that the ban issued in 2021 by the Minister was in respect of reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration in Forest Reserves, except in exceptional circumstances. The ban was imposed because people acquired reconnaissance and/or prospecting licences and turned around to mine, causing extensive damage to the Forest.
A reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration licence is fundamentally different from a mining lease. A reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration licence is granted to search for minerals, while a mining lease is granted to mine and/or exploit the mineral after the exploration activities have identified them in commercial quantities. The environmental protocols for mining are more stringent than reconnaissance and prospecting. It is for this reason that Government banned reconnaissance and prospecting in Forest Reserves, except in exceptional circumstances.
For the avoidance of doubt, the ban does not extend to mining or the actual extraction of minerals. It is public knowledge that part of the concessions of Newmont Ghana Limited, Chirano Gold Mines Ltd and Ghana Bauxite Company fall within Forest Reserves, and these companies have been mining in the forests, prior to, and after the imposition of the ban.
In respect of Messrs. Koantwi Company Limited, a casual reading of the Forestry Commission’s letter posted by Hon. Suhuyini shows that it was an approval for the issuance of a Forest Entry Permit to the Company to MINE within a portion of the Forest Reserve, and not to undertake reconnaissance and/or prospecting.
In any case, Messrs. Koantwi Company Limited was granted its mining lease on 22nd September, 2020, and ratified by Parliament on 22nd December, 2020, before Hon. Jinapor became Minister. The publication by Hon. Suhuyini suggesting that the Minerals Commission was not candid when it said that the Minister has not issued a reconnaissance and/or prospecting licence is, therefore, not the case.
The Commission will urge the general public to engage the Commission on some of these matters before going public. The Commission will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to implement Government policies for the effective utilisation and management of the natural resources of our country, and particularly to fight illegal mining and its devasting consequences.
MARTIN K. AYISI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Story by:Kwaku Stephen