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The Technical Director of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), Mr. Seth Adjei has discounted as propaganda, claims that the entire Atewa Forest stands irreversible destruction should government proceed with plans to mine bauxite.
It cannot be true and should not stall national development, he told journalists attending a workshop on the environment in Accra.
“We are talking about destroying the whole of the Atewa Forest. It is not true. It’s propaganda. The portion of the Atewa Forest that we are going to be ‘playing’ with is about 10 per cent or less over 50 years. So you can imagine, 50 years, 10 per cent, how much of it in a year are we going to touch?” Mr. Adjei quipped.
He said the targeted five million tonnes of bauxite to be mined takes into account the density of the bauxite, the depth and the cross-sectional area of the mine, explaining that the implication for mining in the Atewa Forest per an annual mining plan is going to be far less than one per cent of identified area.
He said with proposed reclamation plans being properly implemented at the end of the life of the mine, the fauna and flora should be restored.
At the workshop organised by GIADEC which has the mandate to promote and develop a globally competitive integrated aluminium industry in Ghana, journalists were briefed on a baseline biodiversity study of the area of the Atewa Forest earmarked for mining with the view to properly documenting its life forms.
Commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, the study led by Prof. B.B. Campion, a senior lecturer of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has already produced a draft report that captures among other things ongoing illegal mining, logging and farming activities in the Atewa Forest.
“I’m glad Prof (Campion) showed you that picture of the mining that is going on there,” Mr. Adjei continued, adding that “Ten years ago when I went there into the bush, you see timber logging that had been done the previous night. They have been logging and one day we will get up and find that there is no forest at all. Meanwhile GIADEC hasn’t even gotten there yet”, he said in response to agitations against the proposed state mining.
He said the issue needs to be looked at as a national priority, because GIADEC is in the final stages of negotiations with a viable partner to mine responsibly and to aid national development, unlike the destructive illegal mining and pillage whose perpetrators are hardly identifiable.
“So if we are going to get a group that is going to come in and do the right things and be able to say, CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) come and let’s sit down and consider what you say the challenges are and then between us and you, we solve this problem, what is wrong with it?”