WESTERN Goldfields Limited, a defunct gold mining in Takoradi of the Western Region, has appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impress upon the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu, to urgently re-grant the company environmental forest access permit into the Bowiye Range Forest Reserve to mine gold.
According to the company, its request has become necessary because of the fact that the coming back of the company will generate employment for the teeming unemployed youth, which in effect will complement President Akufo-Addo’s vision to create direct and indirect jobs for Ghanaians in order to eliminate poverty in the country.
Speaking in an interview with Today via telephone yesterday, Managing Director of Western Goldfields Limited, Mr. Ralph Ananga, noted that the company which the Minerals Commission of Ghana and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources granted forest access permit in 1989 to prospect gold in the Bowiye Range Forest Reserve has been banned. “We are the only wholly Ghanaian-owned gold mining company working in the forest reserve in Ghana from 1989, that is, the Bowiye Range Forest Reserve.
“In January 1999 and not in the 1992 as claimed by the former Technical Director in-charge of Mining at the Ministry of Lands, Mr. Simon Atebiya, the sector ministry and Forestry Commission came out with an ‘orchestrated’ seventeen (17) new applicants of the mining companies that have been granted forest access permits at the ministerial level to mine in the country’s forest reserves for which the Western Goldfields was sidelined,” he lamented. Mr. Ananga pointed out that this was an increase of three from the previous fourteen (14) new applicants of the mining companies that were granted forest access permits in 1997.
He indicated that in 1997, government of Ghana came out with a new review guidelines/laws regarding working in the forest reserves. According to him, the review laws were designed after the ban on working in forest reserves had been lifted. He bemoaned that Western Goldfields Limited was left out of the shortlisted mining companies, a development, he indicated, has collapsed the company for the past 23 years now, making hundreds of workers lose their jobs. To this end, the visibly worried Mr. Ananga made a passionate appeal to President Akufo-Addo to come to the aid of the company.
Minerals & Mining Matters with Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu