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Betterland Ghana Ltd. Responds To Environmental Concerns Over Mining Rights

Renowned Ghanaian-owned mining company, Betterland Ghana Ltd. has responded to concerns raised by Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group regarding the company’s mining rights in the country.

The group’s impending petition to President Akufo-Addo expressed concern over the mining rights (License #ML2/236) that the Minerals Commission has granted to Betterland
Ghana Ltd.

It aims to address issues related to the environmental impact of mining activities in the Draw River Forest Reserve.

However, Betterland Ghana Ltd. in a statement on May 15, challenged the group’s claim that their mining lease falls within a globally significant biodiversity area, noting that minerals and the forestry commission are prohibited from granting leases in protected zones.

It asserts that their operations are fully legitimate emphasizing that they are not involved in any illegal mining activities.

The company clarified that their project will impact less than 10% of the leased area and will not disrupt existing forest activities.

Betterland Ghana Ltd. further stated their contributions to the national economy, citing significant revenues from gold exports.

They underscored their commitment to responsible mining, land reclamation, and environmental stewardship.

The company further assured the public of its dedication to sustainable mining practices that benefit both the environment and the economy.

Read the full statement below:

PRESS STATEMENT  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Betterland Ghana Ltd. has taken note of the press statement issued by Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, about their impending petition to the president of the republic of Ghana, to express their general concerns over the mining rights granted by the Minerals Commission, a statutory state institution to Betterland Ghana Ltd.

While we admit that it’s the group’s right under the democratic dispensation to openly express their concerns through any medium of choice which includes petitioning the president of the republic to bring to his attention matters within their livelihood interest, we Betterland Ghana, will wants to address some few issues  brought to fore  by the group in their statement.

The foremost paragraph of your statement was an admission of the fact that Betterland Ghana Ltd is not directly or indirectly involved in any illegal mining activities but has legitimately acquired its concession legally which is evident of the license number ML2/236 from the Mineral Commission.

We want to also place on record that, Ghana Environmental Advocacy group stated categorically in their release that, the forest reserve in question has been devastated already by illegal mining activities which has left collections of rivers, streams and other biodiversity destroyed within the enclave of the Draw river forest reserve which would cost government fortunes to either reclaim the degraded land or attempt to stop the illegal mining activities in the forest.

The forestry commission recently bemoan that, 34 major forest reserves in the country have been significantly impacted by illegal mining activities. A total of 4, 726.2 hectares of forests had, thus, been dissipated or degraded as a results of the galamsey carried out in those reserves and those which are the worst affected are Apamprama, Subin shelterbelt and Oda River Forest in the Ashanti and the commission have difficulty dealing with the situation.

The assertion by the commission is a clear indication that illegal mining activities are a monstrous challenge confronting the forest sector, and it is quite worrying and a major setback to environmental advocacy groups who have woefully and persistently failed to channel their energies of advocacy against the nefarious activities of galamseyers, to say the least.

Your claimed in paragraph three of your statement that the lease area of Betterland Ghana falls within globally significant Biodiversity area cannot to be verified because the minerals and the forestry commission is bound by law to restrain themselves from granting any mining lease in forest reserves or protected areas.

Although the initial lease granted to Betterland Ghana limited covers big area after detailed geological  survey, the project will likely be done less than 10% of the leased area and all other activities within the forest prior to our entry, will not be affected. And for the records, Betterland Ghana limited is not and can never be the only mining company in Ghana to have been granted mining concession in a forest reserve since 1874, the first gold mining company was formed shortly after the British established the Gold Coast Colony.

In fact the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, recently told parliament that two of the six mining companies issued with forest entry permit are currently involved in mining activities in forest reserves in the country so why singled out Betterland Ghana Limited which has proving track records of responsible mining and land reclamation technology.

Our question to the group is, which direction of mining policy should the country embrace, the destruction of the forest reserves by galamseyers or government giving it out as concession to Betterland Ghana Limited for responsible mining which would not only reduce the activities of illegal mining but also boost the local economy through job creation and foreign exchange earnings for the country?

In the year 2022 alone, government received USD 6.6 billion dollars from gold export and in the second quarter of 2023, government received USD 1.71 billion dollars as revenue from gold export alone. In inference, government would have lost these monies to illegal miners if it had succumbed to your interest and self-seeking agenda.

In the ad interim, Betterland Ghana limited  disagree with your paragraph four of your statement which sought to create the impression that mining in  reserve area is prohibited by section 3 of the Environmental( Mining in Forest Reserves ) Regulation, 2022 legislative Instrument( L I 2462). It is not entirely the case because section 6 of the same Act makes provision for mining activities in forest reserves with a published manual for guidelines which civil society organisations are asking government to revoke it.

Nevertheless, Betterland Ghana Ltd is wholly Ghanaian owned large scale mining company dully registered and incorporated under the laws of Ghana to carry out responsible mining. The company is known and specialised in land reclamation and restoration, sustainable mining, mining support services and project management with strong commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development.

Our activities in Ghana over years have been reclamation and restoring degraded lands, injection of new life into barren or damaged lands through the deployment of innovative techniques such as soil remediation, erosion control and afforestation to rejuvenate ecosystem and promote biodiversity.

In conclusion, considering the untold hardship, wanton destruction and dissipation of forest reserves and biodiversity by illegal mining activities in forest reserve which has cost government of Ghana fortune to fight on daily basis, Betterland Ghana Ltd, is the last large-scale mining company in Ghana that would want to unleash mayhem or any form of hardship on Ghanaians and the environment within which they operate. We  pray Ghanaians to accept our ultimate assurance that Betterland Ghana limited, will engage in a responsible mining activities through the deployment of A1 guided technologies which will greatly  impact positively not only on job creation, but also the local economy and the country as a whole.

Thank You.