The founder and coordinator of Eco-conscious Citizens is pushing against government’s decision to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest.

Awulah Serwah said the mining process in the long run would have many adverse effects on the species things that reside in the community.

Thus, she advised government to make efforts to protect the various existing forest reserves across the country rather than destroying them.

She said this while contributing to the discussion about protecting the Atewa Forest on The Probe on Sunday.

“Let’s protect our existing forest. Rescind the declassification of the Achimota forest, which are the lands of Accra, and for heaven’s sake abandon ideas to mine bauxite in Atewa forest reserve”

“Because this will not only poison the source of water to over 5 million Ghanaians, but it will also destroy the ecosystem and endanger plants and animal species,” Awulah Serwah said.

In September 2021, during the launch of Integrated Aluminum Industry Projects in Accra, President Akufo-Addo announced that government will ensure that the mining of bauxite in the Atewa forest and other areas is done in a responsible manner to protect the environment.

He said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for instance, had sponsored work to develop a biodiversity and hydrology study for the Atewa forest in order to guide and inform the Agency on how mining activities would be carried out in the forest.

“We believe that mining can and must be done in a responsible manner. Government through its regulatory agencies will act to protect our environment at all times.

“I will reiterate that steps will be taken to ensure that all mining activities are done in a responsible manner in accordance with our regulations,” he said.

The ceremony also saw the signing of an MoU between the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Industry Corporation (GIADEC) and its strategic partner for the Nyinahini Mine, Rocksure International.

The CEO of GIADEC, Michael Ansah said government’s vision of developing the bauxite industry is now a reality.

He said the Ghana Bauxite Company produces 1m tons of aluminium per annum but GIADEC intends to expand this.

To this end, Lands Minister Samuel Jinapor told Aljazeera that “Government and GIADEC continue to be fully committed to the preservation of the Atewa Forest.

He added that government will “ensure that the exploitation of the bauxite in Atewa is in the ultimate interest of the Ghanaian people and is in the public interest. They are also working to ensure that the integrity of the forest is preserved.”

Mr Jinapor added that “government is therefore putting in place measures to ensure that particularly, bauxite and iron ore are built with the full value chain retained here in Ghana and we have created bureaucracies here like the GIADEC and GISDEC which are going to be responsible for building the full value chain of this bauxite and iron ore.”

However, the National Director of A Rocha Ghana in his testimony during a case filed with 10 orders seeking to restrain government from allowing any form of mining activities in the forest accused GIADEC of destroying a part of the Atewa Forest through exploratory bauxite mining.

Dr Seth Appiah-Kubi alleged that the exploratory mining took place contrary to the law.

He told the court GIADEC had earlier announced publicly that the Atewa forest was one of three targeted areas it intended to undertake bauxite mining.

“They (GIADEC) went ahead to commission a reconnaissance and exploration activity in the forest which was carried out without due legal processes, destroying a part of the forest and these activities are the pre-events for the actual mining,” he stated.

Madam Awulah has also disagreed with government’s decision to mine in the forest.

She has since urged government to give up its plan to mine in the forest reserve.

The Eco-conscious citizens’ coordinator added that “Let’s protect our forest; there’s no point in planting 20 million trees but destroying the forest that you already have”.

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