Few days after the United States Forestry Services advised the government to be cautious and seriously evaluate other options including alternatives to mining in the forest, plans have already begun to clear the protected Atewa Forest.
Bulldozers and other heavy equipment were seen on the morning of Thursday May 30, 2019, invading the largest rain forest in Ghana through the Sagyimase entry point to begin clearing it.
This been was done under the strict supervision of officials from National Security, the Forestry Commission, Minerals Commission and Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), to begin prospecting and exploration of bauxite.
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Citi News reports that the Abuakwa Traditional Council has been made aware of the development, and has given its full backing to the clearing of a pathway into the forest.
The Chiefs of Sagyimase, Asikamu, Apapamu, who are within the Atewa enclave, have all performed traditional rites including sacrifices with sheep to pacify river gods in the forest.
Dozens of plant species and medicinal trees have already been destroyed in the process.
“My attention was brought to the invasion of the forest by officials from Forestry Commission, Minerals Commission, National Security and GIADEC on the intended mining of bauxite. Already I am aware that some sub-chiefs from Okyehene’s palace have informed chiefs at Apapamu, Asikamu, and Segyimase about the process to expect these officials any moment for the prospecting and sheep have been slаughtered as a sacrifice to pacify the river gods in the forest”.
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“Already, countless trees and plants of medicinal values have been destroyed in the clearing process by these bulldozers, endangered species and wildlife will be pushed away from their habitation and this should be a cause of concern for every well-meaning Ghanaian,” a unidentified stakeholder in the area said.
Portions of the report from the United States Forestry Services indicated that mining in the Atewa forest reserve could potentially have a significant and permanent impact on the forest, reserve as well as water for over five million Ghanaians, whose source of water is taken from the Atewa forest.
The concern by the US Forestry Services has already been expressed by various environmental groups in the country including A ROCHA Ghana, which has been campaigning against the move for many years.
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