Government is determined to proceed with bauxite mining in the Atewa Forest despite opposition from local communities and International Conservation Organisations. The recent decision to send bulldozers to start clearing access roads show that the authorities have decided to plough ahead with the controversial project.
A statement issued by A Rocha and Partners, said the mine, if completed would destroy the forest which is one of the world’s Key Biodiversity Areas and home to more than 100 globally threatened species.
Designated as a Forest Reserve in 1926, the Atewa forest is also a critical water source, housing the headwaters of the Birim, Densu and Ayensu rivers, which provide water to local communities as well as millions of people downstream, including the capital, Accra.
The Deputy National Director of A Rocha Ghana, Daryl Bosu, said over 15 million supporters worldwide are calling on government to abandon plans to mine in the forest and instead declare it a National Park.
Meanwhile, more than 20,000, people have already signed a petition calling on the government to declare Atewa Forest a national park.
He emphasised that it is still not too late for the government to stop the disastrous mine and instead champion Ghana’s incredibly rich natural heritage and the interests of the five million Ghanaians who depend on Atewa Forest for their water.
A recent Global Forest Watch Report also estimated that there had been a 60 percent increase in Ghana’s tropical primary rain forest loss in 2018 compared to 2017, the highest in the world.
The organisations therefore called on government to cancel the project and to stop the damage before it is too late, adding that it will be a bad precedent that mining can proceed in hugely important places for biodiversity without an Environmental Impact Assessment.