The ecosystem, especially the plant and animal species in the Atewa Forest Reserve, will not be destroyed to make way for bauxite mining in the area, the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) has said.
The corporation, which was established in 2018 to own and operationalisae the country’s bauxite reserves, said it had committed itself and its partners to responsible and ethical mining codes that will ensure mining in the area does not destroy the forest.
Those codes, it said, require that it mines in a manner that will not destroy the environment, disposes of the residue responsibly, and reinstates the mined area into its old state after completing the mining.
It said the firm had also resolved to submit itself and its partners to all regulatory authorities, including the Minerals Commission (MINCOM) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to help ensure that mining activities comply with all laid-down regulations.
Chief Executive Officer of GIADEC, Michael Ansah who gave the assurances, said Ghanaians and other stakeholders should therefore rest assured that the country will not lose the entire Atewa Forest Reserve to bauxite mining.
Mr. Ansah was responding to earlier concerns by pressure groups, residents of Atewa and non-governmental organisations that mining bauxite in the area will destroy the forest and deprive the country and West Africa of their biggest forest reserve.
“What we want to assure the people of Ghana and ourselves of is that we are doing the right thing; we are going to be very responsible in what we do, and we will listen to the concerns and address them,” he said.
He explained that mining activities, when they finally start, will only take place in a small portion – thereby leaving the larger forest reserve intact. He said his outfit is aware of the immense importance of the Atewa Forest, and noted that about five big rivers in the country have their source in the reserve.
“So, the hydrology and whole management of those water resources and everything associated with it requires that we keep to what we do, and sign up to codes that commit us to doing this in a responsible way,” Mr. Ansah said.
The CEO said the corporation is in talks with various investors to help exploit the country’s bauxite deposits in support of economic development. In doing that, he said, the corporation has prioritised transparency and value for money in a bid to ensure that Ghana is not short-changed in any transaction it enters into with the investor community.
He disclosed that global investor interest in the country’s bauxite is huge, and added that almost all the major companies in the bauxite business globally are interested in investing in the country.
Mr. Ansah said the bauxite and the aluminum sector are key to realising President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, and further pledged the corporation’s commitment to helping realise that vision.