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NGOs Fight Gov’t Over Atewa Forest Mining

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A group of local Non-profit organisations have asserted that, Government cannot engage in ethical, responsible and environmentally-friendly practices in mining bauxite in the Atewa Forest.

The NGOs, which include The Coalition of NGOs against Mining in Atewa, Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape, Green Livelihood Alliance and Shared Resource Joint Solutions, have expressed dissatisfaction over the methods used in mineral’s extraction in the country, and argued that no responsible means can be employed when it comes to the mining in the Atewa Forest.

According to their statement, twelve attempts to mine bauxite in Atewa Forest had left negative impacts on water, health and the well-being of residents in the area.

The argument

The group was countering an earlier statement by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amenu, to the effect that sustainable measures were in place to ensure the safety of residents in all mining areas, including Takwa-Nsuta in the Western Region.

According to the Ministry, the sector makes over 27% of national revenue and employs over 28,000 Ghanaians but stressed that the situation should not lead to the depletion of the environment. However, the environmental NGOs are not happy with the position of the minister.

“Their posturing of non-disclosure, non-engagement and close door agreement brokering, despite the countless requests for transparency by communities, defeats all intents to ensure responsible and sustainable mining wherever bauxite mining will occur, much less in a critical watershed like the Atewa Range Forest Reserve,” the  NGOs’ statement countered.

The NGOs contended that that if  Ghanaians  were to take the statement of the Minister by its true intent, then there was a need for everyone to clearly understand the principles that underpin responsible mining and sustainable use of resources and for which the Minister so refers to.

Advice

They said responsible mining includes strategizing management processes that achieve positive impacts for all stakeholders as well as the communities.

“Emergency response mechanisms, re-development of mines and pre-informed decision-making, all play critical roles in achieving responsible mining records”, the statement advised.

By: Brenda Osei Karikari

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