It will be disrespect to Okyenhene if Akufo Addo government mines Bauxite in Atewa Forest   It will be disrespect to Okyenhene if Akufo Addo government mines Bauxite in Atewa Forest
President Addo led government unwavering decision to mine  about $460 billion low-grade bauxite in the Atewa Forest Reserve in  Akyem Abuakwa in the Eastern...   It will be disrespect to Okyenhene if Akufo Addo government mines Bauxite in Atewa Forest

President Addo led government unwavering decision to mine  about $460 billion low-grade bauxite in the Atewa Forest Reserve in  Akyem Abuakwa in the Eastern region of Ghana will be disrespectful to the Okyenhene  Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin and entire Okyeman Council if the decision is not rescinded  given that, the King has consistently over the years  kicked against mining of bauxite in the Atewa Forest reserve.

In 2012, Okyeman Council stated clearly ,it prefers  a national park out of Atewa Forest Reserve than a bauxite mining. The decision of the council came to light at the first state council session of the year held at the Ofori Panin Fie, the palace of the Okyenhene at Kyebi.
 
The statement issued after the meeting explained that “Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin and his council not oblivious of the benefits of mining such as increased foreign exchange earnings for the country, job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth, boosting of the local economy among others were also not oblivious of the environmental problems concomitant with mining, and the fact that mining in the natural undisturbed Atewa range forest has a life span of only fifty-five years. It is against this backdrop that the Council considers turning the Atewa forest into a national park with its many benefits to a bauxite mining field”The press statement signed by the  Secretary E. Ampofo Duodu mentioned that “A team of local and international scientists who have conducted a series of research in the Atewa forest have confirmed that Atewa harbours one of the healthiest and most important ecological systems in the world, with the headwaters of three important rivers in the country; Densu, Birim and Ayensu, which are essential sources of domestic, agricultural and industrial water for local communities and many of Ghana’s major population centres, including the capital city, Accra. Atewa forest, thus, protects and provides clean water sources for much of Ghana’s human population and key elements of the country’s biodiversity. The statement further said , “through the process of photosynthesis, it provides the essential environmental service of continuously recycling atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen. That is, the Atewa forest is one of the ecosystems that produces and cleans the air Ghanaians breathe. This makes Atewa the right lung of the entire nation. Atewa is also a major source of both traditional and modern medicines”.
The Council also enumerated some biological and ecological importance of the forest  to buttress their opppsition to mining of bauxite in the forest  “exclusive biological resources or ecological benefits of the Atewa forest reserve used to be threatened by illegal logging, hunting and farming activities. The major threat today is the exploitation of bauxite deposits, which could have eternal damaging effects. For about ten to fifty years, at most, the benefits to the economy from a successful bauxite operation may include foreign exchange earnings, easing of unemployment, and stimulation of local economy”.
 
 
The Okyeman council further said ” when the Atewa forest bauxite is mined, the permanent impact on the physical environment and, for that matter, the national ecological balance may be incalculable; and the reasons are not far fetched” and added that  ” Bauxite is mainly extracted by open-cast mining, which involves clearing of vegetation and the removal of the top layer of soil in order to get at the ores underneath. This has the potential of destroying: hundreds of thousands of hectares of magnificent bio-diverse forests; habitats of exotic animals and plants; natural waterfalls and headwaters of the three river systems. In addition, as soon as the bauxite ores are mined, the land will become so caustic and completely dried out to the point that it can hardly support living things and agriculture. Besides, bauxite mining leaves behind another by product toxic (known as red dust particulate) in the air, which can have serious negative impacts on public health. What makes the remote decision to mine depressing is the fact that the bauxite identified at Atewa is classified as low-grade”.
 
This statement was issued when the previous government made attempt to similarly mine the bauxite deposits the Atewa Forest Reserve .Subsequently, Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin has been consistent in his opposition to mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve .At the durbar of the 2017 World Environment Day, the Overload of Akyem Abuakwa reiterated his call to protect and conserve the Atewa Forest for future generation. Therefore the decision by government to  mine the bauxite is affront to the Okyenhene .
 
Ghana has signed a $15 billion deal with China to exploit bauxite deposits in the Country .The Senior Minister,Yaw Osafo Marfo  has subsequently downplayed concerns that mining bauxite in the Atewa forest will pollute the three major rivers with its headways in the forest
forgetting that the forest provides other essential  roles such as carbon sequestration,ecosystem , biodiversity richness ,support to agriculture and ecological services .
 
 
This  greediness and overexploitation of natural resources in Ghana i detrimental to the future generation .Ghana’s failure to properly  regulate mining of the abundant gold  deposits across the country has led to illegal mining menace which has injured the environment with toxic mercury into river bodies and degradation of arable lands.Forest resources have also not been managed well leading to high rate of deforestation through illegal lumbering .In terms of wildlife protection and conservation ,it is a national  debacle as many wild species have extinct due to indiscriminate poaching .It is therefore sickening for the only Forest reserve with high level of  species richness be invaded and destroyed through mining of bauxite by government.A Rocha- Ghana and several environmental activists in Ghana including Musicians Union of Ghana ,Environmental News Agency ,some top party officials of the ruling government have mounted opposition to the planned mining of the bauxite deposit in the forest.
 

Source :enaghana.com