No mining in Kakum, Winneba orest reserves — Mireku Duker

The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has reiterated that the Kakum and Winneba forest reserves would not be given out as mining concessions.

No mining in Kakum, Winneba orest reserves — Mireku Duker

He gave the assurance last Friday when he addressed the Central Regional House of Chiefs on the Ewoyaa Lithium project and associated matters.

The minister emphasised that the culture, tourism and traditional significance of preserving these locations was enormous, saying the  government would do all to protect them.

He observed that the Kakum forest reserve, a notable tourist destination, along with the Winneba forest, where the locals hunt for deer to commemorate their festival, the Aboakyir would be protected for posterity.

He stressed that traditions should be regarded as a crucial aspect of our culture, which deserves protection and preservation.

Earlier, the Omanhen of Gomoa Ajumako, Obrempong Nyanful Krampah XI, had expressed worry about rumours of the purported release of licences to a mining company to mine in traditional sites around Winneba.

The Omanhen of Ekumfi, Odeefuo Akyin VII, also expressed worry about persons claiming to have mining licences, who come into communities to undertake mining activities without prior recourse to the traditional leaders.

Sacred areas desecrated

He noted that the activities of some of these people have desecrated sacred sites in the communities.

"Some of them have excavated community gods and this is worrying,” he stated.

He urged the ministry and the minerals commission to ensure the traditional authorities were informed of all mining activities to be undertaken in their communities.

Be faithful

The chiefs urged the minister to remain faithful to the pledge, as the forests hold immense significance for the people of Winneba and the Kakum Forest Reserve enclave, in the Central Region, and the country as a whole.

In 2023, media reports were indicating that the Kakum and Winneba forest reserves had been allocated to a mining company for extraction activities.

Alarmed by the news, the leaders of the Effutu and Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Councils convened a conference to send a strong and resolute cautionary message to the government, warning against any potential encroachment on these forests and highlighting the irreplaceable ecological and cultural values they hold.

Minerals Commission

The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi, for his part, reiterated that no mining activity could be undertaken in a community without informing the traditional authorities.

He said officials of the Minerals Commission were obligated to introduce any company rightly mandated to mine to traditional authorities before they can start any mining activities.

He said chiefs must stop all companies which do not have licences from the commission and which had not been introduced by officials of the Minerals Commission.

He explained that gazettes were different from licences and did not give any company the right to start any mining activity.The President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Odeefou Amoakwa Boadu, assured that the chiefs would support projects that bring economic freedom to the people of the area.

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