A group of environmentalists, climate change activists, individuals, civil society and non governmental organizations have dragged the government to court for prospecting bauxite in the Atewa Range Forest in the Eastern Region.
The plaintiffs said the government is undertaking mining activities in the Forest without mineral right and urged the court to compel the government to restore or pay the cost of damages that had been caused as a result of recognisance, prospecting and clearing of roads in the Forest.
The plaintiffs joined the Attorney General as a defendant.
They include the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape, A Rocha Ghana, Flower Ghana, Ghana Youth Environment Movement, Ecocare Ghana, Kasa Initiative Ghana,
Awula Serwah, Oteng Adjei, Boakye Twumasi-Ankrah and Nana Asante.
In the writ filed by their counsel, Martin Kpebu, the plaintiffs stated that the government had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the People’s Republic of China to develop a bauxite industry in Ghana with the Atewa Range Forest as one of the sources of bauxite.
They said the government; acting through the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Cooperation (GIADEC) entered the Forest in May 2019 to explore for bauxite by drilling deep holes causing damage to the Forest which protects the watershed for three major rivers and several streams serving water to more than 5 million Ghanaians.
The plaintiffs said they initiated the present action after several unsuccessful attempts to engage the government on why it should not touch the forest as it was classified as Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA) and a protected forest.
The plaintiffs said they are not against the government’s quest to mobilise resources through various endeavours including exploiting the country’s natural resources for development.
However, it is the case of the plaintiffs that the country does not need to exploit the Atewa Range Forest bauxite reserves because there are far richer bauxite reserves according to information available to the government, which was made public.
The plaintiffs contends that strip mining, the only way to mine bauxite could result in loss of forest cover, loss of biodiversity, loss of access to clean water, build-up of Green House Gases, loss of climate amelioration services, loss of emission reduction services, loss of medicinal/economic valuable plants and change in tourism potential of the area.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA