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Data from the Forestry Commission of Ghana has shown that thirty-four (34) of the country’s forest reserves are under threat to illegal mining, locally-known as galamsey.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, John M. Allotey, made this known at a press briefing on the State of Ghana’s Forest Reserves, at the Ministry of Information.
According to him, the total forest cover gazetted to serve as reserves and habitats of wildlife is gradually shrinking as a result of illegal mining activities.
“Seven out of the sixteen regions have been experiencing some form of illegal mining. Out of this, thirty-four reserves have been affected. These are areas where you have significant illegal mining. The total area that has been mapped is about 4, 722 hectares of forest lands have been impacted. But then this is only the surface. Some of these impact results in very deep holes and they excavate a lot of materials that will also impact on the forest,” he said.
In his submission, John Allotey explained that forest areas such as Tano Nimiri, Bonsa River, and Apamprama Forest Reserves, in the Western North, Western and the Ashanti Regions, have been heavily impacted by the menace.
He further added that as a Commission they try their best to flash out illegal miners in some of the forest reserves, but there are some areas being mined with rented armed guards who end up fighting them back.
“We have three forest reserves that have been classified as a the most difficult areas, these places are having active illegal mining happening and they have rented security and they are in the Bekwai forest district,” he added.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, indicated that the government remains resolute in fighting the illegal mining menace in the country.
Below is a list of some forest regions impacted by galamsey activities;
Nkawie Forest Region
(Jimira, Tano Offin South, Offin Shelterbelt, Asenanyo)
Bekwai Forest Region
(Oda River, Denyau, Bomsontwe Range, Apamprama, Subin Shelterbelt, Supuma)
Mankranso Forest Region
Asankregua Forest Region
(Tonton, Fure River, Totua)
Tarkwa Forest Region
(Nueng South, Bonsa River)
(Ahwianso East, Upper Wassaw, Afao Hills)
(Tano Anwhia, Tano Nimire)