Ghana's government set to clear its largest surviving rainforest for mining bauxite

Heavy equipment to be used to clear a path have been sighted in the Atewa Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region.

Atewa forest

The bulldozers and other equipment were taken into the forest through the Sagyimase entry point to begin clearing it under the strict supervision of officials from National Security, the Forestry Commission, Minerals Commission and Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) to begin prospecting and exploration of bauxite.

This is happening few days after the United States Forestry Services, providing technical consultation service to the government on the proposed mining of bauxite in Atewa Forest Reserve, advised the government to earnestly consider other options including alternatives to mining in the forest.

According to Accra-based Citi FM, portions of the report from the United States Forestry Services stated that mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve could potentially have a significant and permanent impact on the forest reserve as well as water for over five million Ghanaians whose source of water is taken from the Atewa Forest.

These concerns have been raised by various environmental groups in the country including A ROCHA Ghana which has been campaigning against the move for many years.

However, it seems plans have already begun to clear the largest surviving rainforest in Ghana.

One will expect the traditional council of the area to protest against this development considering the threats mining issues to global warming.

But the Abuakwa Traditional Council has rather given its full support to the clearing of a pathway into the forest.

The Chiefs of Sagyimase, Asikamu, Apapamu who are within the Atewa enclave have all performed traditional rites including sacrifices with sheep to pacify river gods in the forest.

A stakeholder who pleaded for anonymity told Citi FM that “my attention was brought to the invasion of the forest by officials from Forestry Commission, Minerals Commission, National Security and GIADEC on the intended mining of bauxite. Already I am aware that some sub-chiefs from Okyehene’s palace have informed chiefs at Apapamu, Asikamu, and Segyimase about the process to expect these officials any moment for the prospecting and sheep have been slaughtered as a sacrifice to pacify the river gods in the forest.”

“Already, countless trees and plants of medicinal values have been destroyed in the clearing process by these bulldozers, endangered species and wildlife will be pushed away from their habitation and this should be a cause of concern for every well-meaning Ghanaian,” he added.

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