Investigate issuance of mining licence - Amenfi West MP urges stakeholders

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Eric Afful — MP for Amenfi West
Eric Afful — MP for Amenfi West

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Amenfi West, Eric Afful, has called for full-scale investigation into the issuance of a mining licence to Akonto Mines to undertake small-scale mining in the Tano Nimiri Forest.

Such investigation, he said, could stop the wanton destruction of the forest and its natural cover, river bodies, farmlands and plantations.

The Tano Nimiri Forest lies between Amenfi West and Aowin municipalities in the Western and the Western North regions, respectively.

In a statement issued last Friday, Mr Afful said, "I have been informed about these vicious characters purporting to have acquired legal documents from the Minerals Commission to engage in small-scale mining in the forest.

"I vehemently reject the claim that the Minerals Commission granted the purported licence to such an exploitative company to destroy the forest reserve," he said.

Improper act

The MP said to the best of his knowledge, Tano Nimiri Forest was a concession granted to Samartex Timber and Plywood Company Limited by the Forestry Commission.

He, therefore, considered it improper for the Minerals Commission to authorise a small-scale mining company to destroy the same forest and its natural cover, river bodies, farmlands and plantations managed by Samartex Timber and Plywood Company Limited.

"My concern has been amplified owing to the fact that Samartex is likely to lay off more than half of its employees, if such activities are not curtailed,” Mr Afful said.

"Moreover, there is the real likelihood that conflict may ensue between the security guards of Akonta Mines, forest guards of the Forestry Commission, security guards and employees of Samartex which may subsequently destabilise the peace we enjoy in the municipalities involved,” he said.

He, therefore, requested a full-scale investigation into the matter by all stakeholders including the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, the National Security Minister, the chief executive of the Forestry Commission and the Minerals Commission.

He also mentioned the regional ministers of Western and Western North regions, municipal chief executives of Amenfi West and Aowin municipalities, Wassa Amenfi and Aowin paramount chiefs, management of Samartex Timber and Plywood Company Limited and Akonto Mines as those who should take part in the investigation.