In an effort to repress illegal small-scale mining, the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has directed the suspension of all mining reconnaissance and prospecting activities in forest reserves nationwide until further notice. The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources noted that many individuals and companies engage in illegal mining in forest reserves under the pretext of reconnaissance or prospecting. In line with this ban, the Minerals Commission has also been instructed to cease the processing, provision, and renewal of reconnaissance and prospecting licences for forest reserves.
The directive was made pursuant to Section 4 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), which states that the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources may reserve land from mining. It has been widely welcomed as a bold step against deforestation, which depletes the raw materials needed by key industry players such as the timber sector. While the ban is temporary, mining industry players can expect heightened regulatory measures as the Government prioritizes the fight against illegal mining.