….Afenyo-Markin insists as names & Documents emerge after protest
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Effutu constituency in the Central Region, has vehemently dismissed claims suggesting the sale of the Ramsar site in Winneba; the sacred forest where Deers are hunted during the annual Aboakyire festival, to Green Metal Resources Limited for lithium mining.
According to Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, these allegations are coming from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the constituency and they must be disregarded.
This, follows protests by some residents of Winneba in the Effutu constituency who took to the streets yesterday, Tuesday, December 5, 2023. They registered their displeasure over allegations of the sale of the Ramsar site for mining purposes.
But this is the second time the Ramsar site matter has come up for discussion. The Minerals Commission, last July in a statement emphatically denied granting any mining permit to any institution or individuals to mine at the Effutu Ramsar site.
The demonstration saw police intervention, including the use of tear gas, with unconfirmed reports of injuries among protesters and a police officer, named Fuseini, who was observed with blood on his face.
Videos ostensibly shot by the police, had some of them saying they were being pelted with stones.
The Herald has since obtained maps and location plots said to be the areas in the forest to be affected by the activities of Green Metal Resources Limited.
The document titled “Plan of Land Large Scale Mining Concession for Green Metal Resources Limited” has the name of a certain J.K Okae, a Licensed Surveyor of Post Office Box CT 39. It is dated 11th August 2021. It captures the locality as Bewadze and the district as Gomoa West/Effutu in the Central Region.
The Herald’s contacts among the traditional authorities, have since revealed that the government has terminated the mining concession granted Green Metal Resources Limited, and “things are calm for now”.
Speaking to journalists, the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, said such claims are untrue and must be disregarded.
“The NDC in my constituency has come out with a serious allegation to the effect that government officials and my office sat unconcerned and got the sacred forest of Afuttu where we go for deer hunting, the place has been sold for mining of lithium. I simply want to say that this allegation is false and never true,” Afenyo-Markin stated yesterday.
He further emphasized that the Minerals Commission issued a statement two years ago, indicating that no application for mining in the forest had been received.
Afenyo-Markin firmly asserted, “There is no such thing.”
Effutu residents took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction over the alleged potential sale of the Ramsar site for mining purposes.
Clad in red apparel, the concerned residents highlighted that the contested site is crucial for their annual Aboakyire festival, particularly in deer hunting.
They voiced concerns that selling the land could jeopardize the Aboakyire festival, a sentiment echoed by their demonstration.
The residents issued a warning, stating their intent to halt the operations of the mining company, as they believed the exploration would disrupt the reserve that has been a part of their community for several years.
The Deputy Majority Leader charged that “the NDC in my constituency has come out with serious allegations to the effect that government officials, including my office, sat unconcerned and allowed people to buy the sacred forest of Effutu where we go for deer hunting for the mining of lithium and I simply want to say that this allegation is false.”
He added, “in fact, the Minerals Commission two years ago stated the effect that such an application has not even been received by them, not to mention approving a company to mine lithium in that sacred forest, and so I want to put it on record that there is no such thing.”
The Mineral Commission had, in the statement last year, called for a meeting with the Omanhene of Effutu Traditional Area, the Effutu Municipal Assembly and Asafo groups to deliberate on the matter.
The Commission’s statement was in response to the Effutu Traditional Authority’s press conference led by Neenyi Ghartey VII which had emphasised their disapproval of any permit to mine at the Ramsar Site and indicated it would not accept an offer from anybody or institution to mine at the sacred place.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin, Deputy Majority Leader, who is against the encroachment was reported to have also donated Ghc30, 000.00 to the Forestry Commission to protect the site.
The statement was signed by the CEO of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi. It revealed that his outfit has not given a permit to Green Metals Resources Limited despite the company’s pending earlier proposal.
It added that Chiefs and communities cannot be left out in negotiations before a permit is issued to a mining company, per the mining laws in Ghana.