General News of Tuesday, 25 December 2018
The Minority is pleading with government to spare the Atewa Forest from destruction as Chinese firm, Synohydro prepares to construct roads under the $2 billion bauxite barter deal.
The Chinese firm is expected to invest in infrastructure in exchange for returns from the sale of processed bauxite from Atewa and other forests in the country.
Parliament earlier this month approved agreements for the first phase of construction projects worth $640m which is due to begin next month.
But a worried Minority wants the Atewa Forest to be protected.
Deputy Minority Spokesperson on Lands and Natural Resources Kwabena Mintah Akandoh says the Atewa Forest deserves to be preserved.
“Giving Atewa forest out for $2 billion…in fact, it is not only Atewa, but we are also talking about Awaso, Nkawie… I think we must have people to value these deposits very well, especially the Atewa Forest.
“There are some species in the Atewa Forest that cannot be found in any part of the world. It is one of the things that make Ghana significant on the globe and it has been declared by the UN as a biodiversity area and so we earn so much as a result of keeping the Atewa Forest,” he added.
The Juaboso MP wants the government to prioritise the Atewa Forest over any amount of money.
He adds that the need to conserve and protect the few forests reserves left, following the destruction of many others due to illegal mining cannot be understated.
“So if you have a government who is thinking about further degrading the forest for only $2 billion, it is a cause for worry.”
Government says the Sinohydro deal is in line with a permanent strategy of bridging the country’s infrastructure deficit through a new model that involves financing Ghana’s infrastructure requirements through leveraging of the country’s natural resources.
Official estimates are that there are about 200million tonnes of bauxite deposits within the Atewa mountain range at Kyebi, another 350million in Nyinahin, and 1billion tonnes of deposits in Awaso; making an estimated total of over 1.5billion tonnes of bauxite deposits Ghana.
Using conservative 2016 prices of $358 per tonne of bauxite, Ghana has a potential $ 554.9 billion worth of bauxite deposits.