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February 6th , 2023

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ILLEGAL MINING IS COMBATED BY THE FORESTRY COMMISSION IN FOREST RESERVES

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A week ago

The Bunusu section of the Oda River Forest Reserve and the Koboro-Odaho sections of the Apamprama Forest Reserves are the targets of a battle being waged by the employees of the Bekwai Forest District of the Ashanti Region of the Forest Services Division (FSD) of the Forestry Commission (FC).


According to Clement Omari, the regional manager of FSD for the Ashanti region, while on routine patrol in the two forest reserves, FSD employees found a number of excavators they think belonged to miners operating illegally in the reserves.



The team in Bekwai requested reinforcement from the Rapid Response teams stationed in the Nkawie Forest District. Rexford Twum Damoah, the district manager of Bekwai, oversaw a series of operations that resulted in the destruction of the illegal miners' temporary wooden homes as well as mining equipment included 12 excavators and 12 heavy-duty pumping machines.


Since the illegal miners fled when they saw the teams, no arrests have been made, and nobody has yet come forward to claim ownership of the machinery.



In a similar occurrence, in December 2022, FSD staff members in the Bekwai Forest District detained three Chinese nationals who were engaged in unlawful mining operations in the Oda River Forest Reserve.


The three Chinese nationals were brought before the Bekwai Circuit Court after the incident was reported to the police, where they were given bail awaiting more inquiries.

One of the Ashanti Region's top productivity forest reserves where timber is produced is the Oda River Forest Reserve.


It has a total size of 164.43 km2, of which 32.86 km2, or roughly 20% of the Reserve, are located in the Amansie West Administrative District, while 131.57 km2, or the remaining 80%, are located in the Amansie Central Administrative District. The Bekwai Forest District's south-west corner is typically where it is located.



One of Ghana's main rivers, the Oda River, receives water from both the Apamprama Forest Reserve and the Oda River. As a source of drinking water for populations downstream, notably the Obuasi Municipality, it supports a diverse range of species.

Forest reserves and water bodies were designated as red zones and restricted areas in 2021 by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, where mining was not permitted.


As a result, he gave the Forestry Commission the order to stop issuing licences for forest access into any forest reserve in order to prospect for or mine for minerals.



In recent years, unlawful operations have threatened forest reserves, and the Forestry Commission is committed to ensuring that all forest reserves are safeguarded against illicit mining and other forest offences.

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