Gov’t bans prospecting in all forest reserves
The government has placed a temporal ban on all forms of prospecting activities within forest reserves across the country as it tackles illegal mining.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, issued the order on Wednesday, April 21.
“The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources hereby directs persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in Forest Reserves, with or without legal authorization, to suspend such activities until further notice…,” a statement released by the minister said.
“The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, accordingly, hereby gives persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in Forest Reserves, seven (7) days from the date of the publication of this notice, to cease their operations and evacuate their equipment accordingly”.
Furthermore, the Minerals Commission has been directed not to accept, process and/or recommend the grant, including renewal and/or extension of reconnaissance and prospecting licences in Forest Reserves.
It follows a National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining which was dominated by illegal mining and its harmful impact on the environment.
Among the resolutions adopted at the dialogue was a charge to the government to take steps to strictly apply laws and sanctions to all persons who infringe the law, irrespective of political colour or socio-economic status or class.
Persons and/or companies engaged in reconnaissance and/or prospecting in Forest Reserves have been given seven (7) days to cease their operations and evacuate their equipment accordingly.
Mr Jinapor explained that individuals and companies, under the pretext of undertaking reconnaissance or prospecting, engage in illegal mining in forest reserves, a practice that continues to have adverse consequences on the environment.
The Minister said unless he expressly indicates otherwise in writing, “all activities and operations in respect of any reconnaissance and/or prospecting licences in Forest Reserves are hereby suspended until further notice.”
Below is the full statement: