The Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) says mining bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve will not lead to the destruction of the three key rivers which take their sources from the reserve.
The three rivers are Birim, Densu, and Ayensu. These rivers are sources of drinking water for over five million Ghanaians.
At a press conference, the CEO of GIADEC Michael Ansah explained that the mining will not be done close to the three rivers. He said because of this the rivers will not be polluted and called on people not to worry.
“If you look at the map of the mining concessions, where they [the three rivers] will be, for the Birim and Ayensu, their sources will be about 10 km from the points of these mining while the Densu’s will be 15 miles away.”
He added that some concessions in other parts of the world are as close as one kilometer away. He said the three rivers as far as they are currently, is in line with best practices.
The Sinohydro barter deal signed by the Ghanaian government would see Ghana exchange its share of bauxite for US$2bn which will be used for infrastructural projects across the country.
GIADEC will hold a minimum of 30% stake in any new mine, refinery or smelter alongside private investors.
GIADEC is mandated to hold Ghana’s full interest across the value chain in the integrated aluminum industry.
The mining of the bauxite is expected to start by 2021.
The Atewa forest is part of the Guinean Forests of West Africa which stretch from southern Guinea into eastern Sierra Leone and through Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana into western Togo.
The size of the forest has reduced due to deforestation. The Upper Guinea Forest is now restricted to some disconnected reserves and a few national parks acting as man-made refuges for the region’s biodiversity.