Govt promises to protect forest reserves as China gets set to mine bauxite

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Government has promised that proper mining measures will be adopted to ensure environmental destruction is eliminated.

The assurance from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is in response to civil society concerns about extraction of minerals and its negative impact on the country’s forest reserve.

It comes as government finalise the arrangement to cede part of Ghana’s bauxite deposits to Chinese investors in exchange for infrastructural projects.

Sector Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng says the government is equally concerned about the environment

At the sidelines of a town hall meeting with the people of Nhyinahini in Ashanti region, he explained it will ensure sustainable mining practices are adhered to.

“It is very important to us so we will ensure that the environment is not degraded and that we mine sustainably. Bauxite is different from gold mining; it will be processed into aluminium. So it is an integrated project to make sure we get returns for our investments and we benefit from it as a nation and community,” he said.

“We are going to do this on a regular basis to ensure we all know exactly what to do here and other parts of the nation,” he said.

Last year, residents demonstrated against the mining of bauxite in the Nyinahini forest reserve by the indigenous firm, Exxon Cubic Group.On Sunday 20 August 2017 Ezzon Ubic limited made an attempt to enter into the forest reserve to mine bauxite but was stopped by the collective force of the regional security council, district security council and the youth of Nhyinahini.

The case was adjudicated by an Accra High Court which on February 8, 2018, ruled that Exxon Xubic has no mineral rights to the concession.

Now the government has started contractual processes as they give bauxite concession in the area to Syno Hydro Company limited.

Hundreds of residents of Nhyinahini, chiefs and other stakeholders met with the leadership of the Atwima Mponua District on developments in the district

The theme of the programme was, “deepening understanding of jobs, and wealth creation through Ghana’s national resources”.

During the questioning time, there were questions ranging from electricity to education but paramount was benefited by the locals from the bauxite mine.

Skills training

Professor Frimpong Boateng says the arrangement with China’s Sinohydro will improve economic fortunes of local people.

District chief executive, William Yaw Darko, says government has plans to equip the youth in both technical and vocational skills and other skills to take advantage of the bauxite mining.

“It is something we are keen to do, technical and vocational training because if we are to make headway. We need to improve the capacity to be able to do things for ourselves. So that we can depend on our own technologies and skills and be able to manufacture things for ourselves,” he said.

According to him, that is the essence of the Ghana-Beyond-Aid, the government keeps preaching.

“We are going to make sure we develop the skills and so that we will able to exploit our own natural resources for our own benefit.”

Mr Darko adds that the district is benefiting from the government’s flagship programmes;

-Free senior high school

-Nation builders’ Corps

-Planting for export and rural development

Planting for food and jobs

“This is gratifying to mention that a Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP) is currently taking place in the district. Some communities which are also not connected to the national grid will be connected,” he said.

Prince Appiah | Luv FM

 

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