Revoke President’s Power To Grant Mining Rights – CSOs Petition Parliament
The Media Coalition Against Galamsey and OccupyGhana are calling for the enactment of a law that prohibits the issuance of any mining or drilling permits, licenses, leases, or related activities in all forest reserves and areas with significant biodiversity in the country.
The two bodies, in a press statement issued on November 17, petitioned Parliament to revoke “the Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations (LI 2462) and the power it gives to the President to give written approval ‘to a mining company to undertake mining activity in a globally significant biodiversity area in the national interest”.
“We believe that Ghana needs a simple legislative fiat that says, “WE DO NOT MINE OR DRILL IN OUR FOREST RESERVES.’ We therefore invite Parliament, as a matter of urgency, to pass an Act that forbids the grant of any mining or drilling permit, licence or lease or any other associated activities in all forest reserves and significant biodiversity areas”.
“And to ensure that the Government does not evade the aims of the proposed law by simply revoking the status of current forest reserves, we recommend that any decision on the cessation of forest reserves should be, first, on the advice of the Forestry Commission and Lands Commission, and, second, with the approval of Parliament after a public hearing and engagement with the chiefs and the people of the area in question. This would require the amendment of the Forest Act, 1927 (Cap 157) to take away the power of the President to do this simply by issuing an Executive Instrument. To this end, we also demand the express revocation of the ill-fated Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument (EI 144 of 2022), which purported to revoke the forest reserve status of the Achimota Forest”.
A mining firm recently applied to the Minerals Commission for a licence to mine at the Kakum Forest Reserve in the Central Region.
This caused an outrage, with many chastising the company and authorities for failing to protect the country’s reserves.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) believe the High Street Company was emboldened to apply for the licence because of the existence of LI 2462.
Find the full statement below.