Experts have warned the 90-square-mile tract of mountainous forestland at Atewa which is the source of three major rivers in the country, could pollute water for five million people, as well as see the end of the rare and endemic wildlife.
However, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio has admitted that Government of Ghana will mine Atewa forest but ‘only 12 per cent of the entire area’
In an exclusive interview with Kwame Adinkra on ‘Pure Morning Drive,’ the Minister affirmed government’s intention [adding] that ‘mining will be done sustainably’.
“Kwame it’s true government has plans to mine Atewa forest. But under no circumstance will government destroy huge portions of the natural reserve or water bodies. Atewa is a large forest. Out of that, we’re only mining 12 per cent of the entire area. That’s just a small portion. we’ll reinforce and make sure that Conveyor Belt Technology mine and convey outside the forest for proper disposal. Because we’re concerned about the biodiversity nature of the forest and the fact that it provides water and others to people living in Accra”.
“So yes, the government will mine Atewa but just a small portion. its been done before, in Brazil and Australia. mining is done sustainably in these areas just as we’re going to do” he added.
Sounding optimistic, the Deputy Minister revealed that the government will also mine Nyinahini Bauxite, a reason for which roads in the area are been constructed. He cited Kyreano Gold and Newmont
“The whole country have hope in Nyinahini Bauxite. Even before mining begins, the government is already constructing roads for the people in that area. People in kyreano Gold are sustainably mining in a forest reserve but they’re adding up to the forest reserve by doing enrichment planting, same with New Abirem and Newmont – they understand their cooperate social responsibility and environmental policy as a global company that they’ve to enhance the forest to make it richer to help the country”, He said.
Government of Ghana has plans to mine bauxite in the Atewa Forest this year despite several warnings against the decision to finance its national infrastructure drive with a 2 billion-dollar barter deal it signed with China Sinohydro Corporation Limited.