General News of Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Contrary to the widespread campaigns by several environmental groups admonishing government to abort plans to handover Atewa to a Chinese company for mining, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh has insisted that there are no dangers involved as far as the forest and water bodies are concerned.
This will be the umpteenth time the debate about mining in the area is being raised.
Although he admitted that residents in the capital use the water bodies there as the main source of water, the Minister said that some works have been done to ensure that mining in the area would be sustained and not destroyed as is being campaigned by the environmental groups.
He maintained that experts trained in Australia had been consulted to aid in the mining in the area without throwing out the trees and destroying the ecology as well as the water bodies.
“…We have done some pilot work to the extent that the forest at Atewa will not be destroyed in terms of mining. We have done some exercise to the effect that will sustain the forest at Atewa. The waterbodies at Atewa will not be destroyed. There are some experts that have been trained in Australia to come down here to assist us do the mining at Atewa forest without throwing out the trees, without destroying the ecology, without destroying the water bodies, that is why we insist on doing mining in that area.”
He assured residents who he noted were justified in expressing fear and worry about the devastation after mining as seen in some areas across the country that sustainable systems had been put in place in the catchment area to prevent such occurrences.
The Atewa forest has unique flora and fauna and is reported to provide potable water to over five million Ghanaians. It is the headwater for three rivers in the country namely Densu which flows into the Weija Dam, the Ayensu and the Birim which also supplies water to the Pra River and flows to the Western Region where it enters the sea.
The forest also serves other spiritual and cultural concerns of some of the inhabitants in the surrounding communities.
Government recently announced an agreement with the Chinese to mine bauxite in return for a $2 billion financing facility.