NGOs consider legal action to stop bauxite mining in Atewa Forest

The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations Against Mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve, says it is considering a legal action to halt all exploration activities for bauxite in the country especially in the Atewa forest.

“We are also considering legal options available to us and I am sure that as soon as that is ready, the public will hear about this,” a spokesperson for the Coalition, Daryl Bosu, told Citi News.

He said the coalition is “already talking to a lot of people; engaging a lot of institutions and engaging lawyers so I think that all of these things at the appropriate time will really come to bear.”

“There are so many organisations in this country who want to make sure the right thing is done and they are ready to put their weight behind us,” Mr. Bosu added.

These organisations include the Christian Council of Ghana, which advised the government not to go ahead with its plan to mine bauxite in the Atewa forest.

In a letter to the presidency in March 2019, the Council said the economic gains were not worth the destruction of the Atewa forest, which provides water for five million Ghanaians.

But the government has already begun clearing the forest despite longstanding concerns and protests.

Further warnings came from the United States Forestry Services, which provided technical consultation service to the government on the proposed mining of bauxite in the Atewa Forest Reserve.

It advised the government to be cautious and seriously evaluate other options including alternatives to mining in the forest.

Bulldozers and other heavy equipment have made their way to the forest through the Sagyimase entry point to begin work under the supervision of officials from National Security, the Forestry Commission, Minerals Commission and Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC).

The Abuakwa Traditional Council is aware of the development and has given its full backing.

President Nana Akufo-Addo had assured that the bauxite exploration will not in any way destroy the environment.

He believes that the technology to be adopted by the miners will reduce the impact of the mining activity on the ecosystem.

The Atewa forest is highly regarded because it contains Upland Evergreen forest.

The only other place in Ghana with this type of forest is the Tano Ofin Forest Reserve, which is much smaller and has suffered the effects of human activity.

The Atewa forest has been recognized as an important reservoir of biodiversity and has been officially classified in various ways: as a national forest reserve in 1926, a Special Biological Protection Area in 1994, a Hill Sanctuary in 1995 and as one of Ghana’s 30 Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) in 1999.

In 2001, Atewa was listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.

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