Kakum residents oppose any move to mine in forest reserve

Residents of Abrafo-Odumase, a farming community adjacent the Kakum National Park, have taken a strong stand against any attempt to mine minerals in the Kakum Forest Reserve in the Central Region.

Expressing their aversion to the reported move which had been debunked by the Minerals Commission, they said any form of mining activities would destroy the forest reserve, pollute their waterbodies, destroy their farmlands, and render their community inhabitable.

They have thus vowed to protest against all attempts to mine in the forest or within the community in defend of their livelihoods, the future of their children, and the age-old forest reserve.

Also read: High Street’s application to mine in Kakum Park was rejected – Minerals Commission

There has been a media frenzy in the past few days over reports of some frantic attempts by High Street Ghana Limited, a mining firm, to secure license to mine in one of Ghana’s most vibrant tourist sites, the 375-square-kilometre Kakum Forest Reserve.

The Minerals Commission, in a statement sighted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA), confirmed receiving an application from the mining firm but said it was rejected and given no consideration at all.

“The Commission wishes to assure the public that no mineral right, whether for prospecting or mining shall be considered or granted in the Kakum National Park,” the statement stressed.

However, when the GNA visited the community, they expressed strong cynicism about the assurance given by the Minerals Commission.

They strongly believed that eventually, if care was not taken, mining activities would commence in the forest reserve whether licensed or not.

They recalled that there were attempts to mine for gold in the community and surrounding villages some 20 years ago, but it was opposed by the leadership and people.

A resident, Nana Yaw, said the community would die of thirst because the miners were likely to destroy their waterbodies.

He therefore urged leaders of the community and all relevant stakeholders to resist the temptation to destroy the forest which gives them their livelihood.

Another resident, Enoch Appiah, cited the crucial role the forest played in the country’s tourism as well as their economic activities and admonished against any move to hand it over for mining.

“This forest has existed for ages and has been a major tourist site in the country. Mining in it will destroy our tourism while the mining firm take its huge profit away for us to suffer the consequences,” he said adding that it was a bad move, and they will not sit aloof for it to happen.

Read also: ‘No forest in Ghana is protected from mining’ – Expert traces audacity to mine at Kakum to controversial L.I

For her part, Auntie Adwoa, a farmer was also concerned that the mining activities would destroy their crops and rivers.

“We are already suffering; we do not have pipe borne water and so we only rely on the river and surrounding water bodies.

“In fact, we are not getting any direct benefit from the operation of the Kakum National Park; we cannot afford to allow them to push us further to our graves,” she said.

She asked how they would raise their daughters and sons if their livelihoods were destroyed and appealed to the government to take steps to nip the evil agenda in the bud.

Aunty Abena Foriwaa, another resident noted that the destruction caused by mining was evident in so many communities for all to see and so they did not need that in the forest or anywhere close to to them.

Some tourists who spoke with the GNA at the Kakum National Park expressed shock at the news.

Nana Asare Bediako Banahene, a tourist/tour guide, described the Kakum National Forest as a gold mine for Ghana which should not be allowed to be destroyed out of greed.

“We must as a country, push this agenda away. We are not going to allow that because this is where we irk our living.

“The authorities should not be selfish; they should realise what they have, rethink, and improve upon it."

Ms Dorothy, an American of African Descent also touted the site as a “nice gallery and a beautiful site” and that “such places are to be preserved for generations to experience the priceless facilities.”

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