Illegal mining has begun ravaging some parts of the Atewa forest reserves and derailing the fight to secure the landscape from the grip of activities that have the potential of destroying its vegetative cover.
About 11 trees have so far been uprooted by the unknown company and a small pit dug at the Kobreso side of the reserve but local officials of the Forestry Commission say they cannot tell whether the portion cleared is part of the company’s concession.
“We don’t know whether it is part of their concession or they are encroaching” Begoro District Forest Manager, Kwame Oteng Awuah told Accra based TV3 yesterday.
According to other sources on ground, the ‘order’ to mine in the area―specifically the Kobreso area had been given by persons at the ‘top’. So far, two top political officials have been fingered in this seeming illegality.
Area surveillance carried out by officials of the Forestry Commission shows that on April 3, 2019, the said mining company whose name is yet to be established, had deployed an excavator to the site and had begun digging up the earth crust in search for mineral resources.
The miner is also said to have shunned warning from the chief and people of the area not to mine in the area as the targeted site is out of bound.
Investigations into the said improprieties have further confirms an unhealthy collaboration between the Forestry Service Department (FSD) and miners in the area.
According to the Publisher’s sources, an arrest was made following a tipoff of miners in the area but unfortunately, the swoop hit rock bottom as those arrested were released following interventions from “a top official at the Forestry Commission”.
The FSD Rapid Response Team’s journey to the police station was truncated. The arrested culprits were later seen working at the same site where they had been picked about an hour after the arrest.
In the same surveillance it was garnered that one mining company, Motion Mining Company is alleged to have laid ambush on trees that had been planted under the Taungya system―a Forestry Commission initiative aimed at rehabilitating forest reserves that had been severely affected by the fires of the 1983 drought.
The system allocated degraded parts of forest reserves to farmers to grow crops and intercrop with trees. The idea was to ensure that farmers continue to feed on the land while still caring for the trees till the canopy closes and cropping was no longer possible.
Again some of the revenue from the trees when felled was to be given to the farmers involved. But CEO of Motion Mining Company has since denied his company’s involvement in any mining operations or felling of trees in the area.