The Minerals Commission has rejected an application by a mining company to mine in the Kakum National Park, a renowned tourist site in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa.
The mining company, High Street Ghana Limited, had applied to the Minerals Commission for a license to mine in the Kakum National Park, a process that was at a validation stage. The application was among 14 applications received by the Minerals Commission from firms to mine in some forest reserves across the country.
The strange revelation came after the Director of Nature and Resources Development Foundation, Mustapha Seidu, held a stakeholder engagement on November 9, 2023, to discuss the new Regulation on Mining in Ghana’s Forest Reserves (LI 2462). During the engagement, Mr Seidu revealed that a mining company named High Street Ltd had applied to mine in the Kakum National Park, which is one of the most visited tourist sites in Ghana and is located in the coastal environs of the Central Region. Mr Seidu expressed concern about the idea of mining at the Kakum National Park, which is a protected forest reserve and home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
The move sparked outrage among some civil society organizations (CSOs) and the public, who expressed concern over the potential environmental and social impacts of mining in the park. The CSOs called for the revocation of Legislative Instrument (L.I. 2462), a law that they said allows unrestricted mining in the country’s forest reserves.
The CSOs warned that the law would lead to wanton destruction of the country’s forest, biodiversity and water resources. They also said that the law would undermine the efforts of the government and other stakeholders to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.
Kakum National Park, located in the coastal environs of the Central Region, covers an area of 375 square kilometers and is home to various species of flora and fauna. The park is one of the few locations in Africa with a canopy walkway, which is 350 meters long and connects seven tree tops. The park attracts more than 100,000 tourists annually and contributes to the local economy and livelihoods.
The Minerals Commission, in a statement issued on Sunday, November 12, 2023, clarified that it turned down the application by High Street Ghana Limited and deleted it from the online mining cadastre. The commission assured the public that no mineral rights, whether for prospecting or mining, would be considered or granted within the confines of the Kakum National Park.
The statement, signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi, read in part: “The Commission wishes to inform the CSOs and the public that the application by High Street Mining Company Limited was rejected and therefore cannot be processed or considered whatsoever. Consequently, the Commission has deleted the application from the online mining cadastre. 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 commission said it is aware of the park’s importance and will not sanction any mining activity in the forest.