Government Asked To Prove Atewa Is Out Of Bauxite Deal
The Coalition of NGOs and Concerned Citizens Against Mining in Atewa has called on Ghana’s government to officially state its stand on the proposed mining of bauxite in the Atewa forest.
This follows the statement by Dr. Gideon Boako, spokesperson for the Vice President, which suggests government may not follow through with its plan to mine in the biodiverse rainforest.
On November 19, 2019, Dr Boako, in his statement outlined what he considers to be seven “taunts” by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) supposedly aimed at mocking government’s US$2billion Sinohydro deal with China.
The fourth taunt according to the Vice-president’s spokesman, was that “government will destroy Atewa forest and deprive millions of Ghanaians access to drinking water coming from the Atewa forest,” adding that they “have been exposed as available proven bauxite reserves data show that more than 75% of the total Bauxite reserves is within the Nyinahini enclave making Nyinahini the obvious choice over Atewa for any such huge capital investment.”
But a statement signed by Mr Daryl Bosu, convener for the Coalition in response to Dr Boako and copied to the media on Friday, requested complete clarity on issues raised in the fourth taunt.
“If indeed Nyinahini is the obvious choice over Atewa Forest for the bauxite development project, why then do we still see bulldozers in Atewa Forest undertaking stock surveys and assessing the expected damage to tree species from bauxite mining, and all with the participation of Forestry Commission staff? Why did GIADEC, in a recent meeting with the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Forest, make it clear that there are five mountains in Atewa Forest Reserve identified for mining bauxite, and that they would begin in the Asiakwa area?” the coalition inquired.
Inasmuch as the environmentalists believe that Dr. Boako’s statement backs one of their salient points on why the forest should be a no-go area, they would prefer not to be in a transport of delight with a caution that, his words do not convince them in any way that Atewa Forest is excluded from the deal and so, their so-called ‘taunt’ still stands.
“It was government that included it (Atewa) in the MPSA, even though the reserve is small and, as far as we are aware, it is still part of that deal. Regardless of what Dr. Boako now says, the threat to the forest and to the source of clean water for 5 million people still stands,” the coalition said.
In light of this, the coalition demands that government officially excludes the protected Atewa Forest Reserve from the bauxite agreement and instead increases its protective status to that of a National Park so that there can be no further threats to this critical mountain forest ecosystem from an investment that government now affirms will not be significant.