The Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, Paul Twum Barimah, has described the decision by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor to suspend all prospecting licences granted mining companies as spot on, urging government to cancel all prospecting mining license.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, the Communication and Energy Specialist said the Lands Minister has even been lenient with the mining companies by suspending their prospecting licences.
In his view, the minister should have cancelled their licences, arrest and prosecute them for destroying the forests and the environment without the appropriate licence or legal backing.
Paul Twum Barimah indicated that illegal, unregulated and irresponsible mining is seriously threatening the existence of Ghana’s forest reserves, rivers and water bodies describing the situation as life threatening and that drastic measures must be taken to curb it.
He said with the negative impact of climate change hitting hard on the environment, the country will feel the real impact of disaster if steps are not taken to protect and save the environment
According to the MP, Ghana has lost over GH₵36 billion to environmental degradation, based on figures from the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana.
Country Environmental Analysis by the World Bank which revealed that environmental degradation costs the nation $6.3billion or nearly 11% of the country’s 2017 Gross Domestic Product.
The Dormaa East legislator therefore recommended some measures to be undertaken by government to curb the situation. These include cessation of the issuance of new mining licenses for a year and reclassification of mining categories to reflect the use of new/larger equipment.
The Lands Minister last week directed individuals and companies engaged in prospecting in forest reserves with or without legal authorisation, to suspend such activities until further notice.
The Minister’s decision followed revelation that a number of individuals and companies unlawfully acquired licences under the pretext of undertaking reconnaissance or prospecting in forest reserves and yet proceeded to engage in illegal mining in such forest reserves, with its obvious adverse consequences on the environment.
He further directed the Minerals Commission with immediate effect, not to accept, process or recommend the grant, including renewal or extension of reconnaissance and prospecting licences in Forest Reserves.
Climate change in Ghana is projected to affect its vital water resources, energy supplies, crop production and food security.
Ghana is already experiencing increased extreme weather conditions with higher incidences and more prolonged periods of flooding and droughts. High temperatures will further increase, and rainfall patterns will be less predictable.