ENGINEERS AND Planners, a mining company owned by Michael Ibrahim Mahama, brother of President John Dramani Mahama, is reportedly paying its way to get approval to enter the Tano Offin Forest Reserve in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region, to mine gold.
The company is also reported to have targeted the Fure River Forest Reserve in the Western Region. The Tano Offin reserve is classified as one of the 30 globally significant biodiversity areas. It is feared that mining will destroy it.
Already, some heavy duty equipment, including a caterpillar labelled Engineers and Planners, have been moved to the Tano Offin reserve at Chirayaso to undertake pre-mining construction works.
A team of journalists who visited the site on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, found a road from Chirayaso, leading to the forest freshly rehabilitated to ensure easy transportation.
Forest Watch Ghana, Kasa Initiative Ghana and Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), allege that plans are far advanced for a permit to be issued to the company to commence mining operations. It was noted that requests for exploration permits had increased lately.
Kofi Sarpong, assembly member for the Chirayaso electoral area, who confirmed the development, said there had been reports of miners from Accra seeking to receive approval to undertake mining operations in the Tano Offin reserve.
But the Gyasehene of the community, Nana Gyawu, who also corroborated Engineers and Planners’ invasion, said the company had presented documents to the traditional authorities, declaring its intention to mine bauxite in the reserve but not gold.
Some opinion leaders and the youth of the area seemed to be in support of the mining business, hoping it would create employment.
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi