An environmental civil society organization, Friends of the Earth (FoE-Ghana) is calling on Government as a matter of urgency not to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest and other prospective activities in Ghana’s forest reserves.
The organization has observed that water for five million people sourced from River Densu, Ayensu and Birim, fertile agricultural lands for cocoa and food production will be destroyed if the forest is mined for bauxite.
FoE-Ghana also expressed concerns over the role of the China Development Bank in the proposed bauxite mining in the Atewa forest, which they believe the bank is contradicting its own green policies by investing in the potential destruction of the Atewa forest.
Dr. Theo Anderson, Director, FoE-Ghana at a news conference in Accra, Thursday, May 16th 2018 charged the China Development Bank to first consider funding a strategic environmental assessment of the whole area that is proposed for the bauxite mining, especially in the Atewa landscape.
According to him, such study will present in an objective way the consequences for the local communities living at the firings and the opportunities such venture will offer for Ghana as a whole.
“We want to remind the China Development Bank’s proposed funding towards Bauxite Mining in the Atewa Forest would have a very damaging impacts for biodiversity, wildlife, climate, water resources and people both present and future”, Dr. Anderson stated.
It would be recalled that, in July 2017, the Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo stayed that Ghana had signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Development Bank to loan US$10 million to Ghana’s alumina project.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is also said to have mentioned that bauxite mining will be a major source of Government of Ghana (GOG) revenue to fund “Ghana Beyond Aid Programme”.
But speaking in an interview, Dr. Theo Anderson says Ghana has only 18% of forest left and should not be destroyed for bauxite mining.
He said Forest has a value apart from the financial value, it has environmental values.
“For example, when we destroy the Atewa forest, it ability to stop the erosion, it ability to stop climate, it ability to protect local people and so on, all this are not valued.
“And when we value all this things, we will realize that protecting the forest will give us more resources than destroying it”, Dr. Anderson stressed.
However, FoE-Ghana in-collaboration with A Rocha-Ghana and Tropenbos Ghana, a forest research organization is urging the Government of Ghana and the China Development Bank to explore alternative ways in which the Atewa forest will generate additional revenue for the state and also support development of local communities while preserving the ecological integrity for the Atewa forest.
Source: Accra Mails|Abdul-Hanan