Ghana's president is certain mining the country's largest surviving rainforest won't harm the environment

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaians that the mining of bauxite in Ghana’s largest surviving natural rainforest, the Atewa forest, will not in any way destroy the environment.

President Akufo-Addo

He said that the miners will adopt technology which will reduce the negative impact of the mining activity on the quality of life of persons whose livelihoods depend on the forest’s resources.

He made the statement during the Sustainable Ocean Industries Conference organised under the auspices of the Petroleum Commission of Ghana, Aker Energy and the Norwegian Embassy in Ghana.

“Beginning now, the full-scale exploitation of Ghanaian bauxite resources [will commence]. We are in a better place, technology-wise than we would have been 20, 30 years ago [to do this]…I am satisfied by what I have been told and what has been demonstrated to me that, it is possible for us to get that red matter out without disturbing the wildlife that there is in the Atewa mountains,” the president said.

“This is something that we have to keep an eye on all the time. A very major part of any concession that you give to people to come to look for oil in our waters has an environmental impact. It is important that those who are responsible for making that assessment are accurate, they are true, they are honest. They don’t give passes corruptly,” Nana Akufo-Addo added.

President Akufo-Addo, who is a UN Sustainable Development Goals champion and the government he leads has been criticised over the decision to mine bauxite in the forest as part of a $2 billion Chinese infrastructure deal.

Some environmental activists and concerned groups including A ROCHA Ghana have been campaigning against the mining of the forest.

Meanwhile, the US Forest Service which the government contracted for technical consultation cautioned the government against the process due to the likelihood of having the water sources of some five million Ghanaians affected.

The Christian Council of Ghana also suggested that the forest could be turned into a National Park as an alternative to mining.

But the government has already taken action to mine in the forest.

Last week Thursday, heavy-duty equipment were seen at the Sagyimase entry port of the forest clearing a road into the forest.

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