The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Lands and Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, has emphasized the importance for mining companies to fulfill their obligation of land and forest reclamation which is a condition precedent for the issuance of operational license to mine in the Forest Reserve.
According to the Deputy Minister, large scale mining companies with licenses to Mine in forest reserves are obliged to restore the land and the forest they exploit and that it is imperative that they live up to this important obligation.
“This is something that will be a testament to the fact that mining companies can mine in the forest and be responsibly, so that their operations will not lead to degradation.We have seen the before and after of Newmont’s operation here in Akyem Before they came the whole place was degraded but now it is not so”, he said.
Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio made the observation on behalf of the sector minister on Monday 27th November, 2023, after a working tour of the reforestation Offset project embarked on by Newmont Mining Company , Akyem in partnership with Forestry Commission at their concessions in Kweikaro and Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserves in the Eastern Region.
The re-afforestation drive by the company, has seen them restore 257 hectares of Land at the Kweikaro Forest Reserves and 60 hectares (off reserve) at the Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserve.
The project which is in partnership with the Forestry Comission had over fourteen indigenous and exotic forest tree plants being used to reforest the land which has been exploited by the company in their operations.
Mr. Derrick Boateng, Snr Manager in charge of Sustainability at Newmont Africa explained to the Deputy Minister that his outfit plans to completely relinquish control of the forest to the Forestry Commission after ten years.
He re-affirmed the commitment of his outfit to sustainable and responsible mining practises that will ensure the protection of the biodiversity and eco-system.
Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio commended the company for being an ideal example of a firm that appreciates the respects and tenancy of licenses.
He noted that the Ministry of Lands Natural Resources through its agencies will continue to keep tabs on the development and ensure that mining companies in the country fulfil their obligations to the country.
He encouraged companies to take cues from the commendable initiative of Newmont.
The visit by the Deputy Minister forms part of efforts by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to curate compelling and riveting content and materials for Ghana’s participation at the 28th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28).