The Executive Director of Aroucha Ghana, a group against mining in the Atiwa forest, Daryl Bosu has maintained that the group will continue to oppose any move by government to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest in the Eastern region.
According to him, mining in the Atiwa forest will destroy water bodies in the area that serve as a source of drinking water for millions of people.
“Our concern has been the target or the focal areas for which the government wants to exploit this bauxite. We are saying that the government should completely exclude the Atewa forest because of its water producing services from the deal with the Chinese” Daryl Bosu stated.
Government in the 2017 Budget statement revealed its intentions to develop an integrated Aluminum industry and also mine bauxite deposits within the Atewa forest reserve and two other areas in Ghana.
To this extent, Ghana is in talks to secure a 15 billion dollar loan from the China Development Bank.
But environmentalists and some observers argue that the country will pay a huge price with the proposed 15 billion dollar Ghana-China joint venture should government go ahead with its plans.
“At the height of this, we had our vice president go to China as part of leveraging financial resources of this country to explore the opportunities for development of infrastructure and in that particular engagement with the Chinese, the government was compelled to leverage our bauxite resources for a supposed amount of about 15billion dollars. The concern with this agreement is not to the fact that government wants to mine bauxite, it is about how our natural resources will be abused” Mr Bosu lamented.
Addressing the media, he called on government to rescind its decision to save the country’s natural reserves.
“The country has been battling with the menace of galamsey which has unfortunately contributed to the destruction of many of our water bodies as well as affected the condition of several of our forest reserves. I am by this calling on government to rescind its decision to prevent further destruction in our virgin forest” he insisted.
Meanwhile Director for the group “Friends of the Earth” Dr. Theo Anderson also insists the China Development Bank should rather provide funding to protect the natural environment and not to destroy it.
“We urge 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 forest landscape. Such a study will show how the communities around the forest will be adversely affected” he stated.
By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana