Gov’t Sued Over Extinction-Level Atiwa Forest Mining

The Akufo Addo administration has been sued by a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for attempting to give one of Ghana’s most bio-diverse forest reserves to Chinese companies to mine for bauxite.

The more than 20 coalition of NGOs led by A Rocha Ghana-an environmental advocacy organisation, filed the notice of their suit on Monday, January 13, 2020 against the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria A. Akuffo.

According to the plaintiffs, the mining activity will cause the extinction of certain plants and animals unique to the Atiwa Forest. Also, the group have raised alarm about the possibility of more than 5 million people who depend on water from the forest losing their source of water.

Last year, Hollywood’s Titanic star, Leonardo DiCaprio travelled to Ghana specifically to fight against the planned mining activity in the Atiowa Forest. He later posted on his twitter: “Ghana’s #Atewa Forest Reserve provides drinking water to 5 million+ people & harbors 100+ wildlife species at risk of extinction. We must prioritize the protection of these irreplaceable places for a healthy planet.”

As part of the reliefs that the group seek from the milestone suit, they insist that the right to life and dignity as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana, 1992 which includes (a) the right to a clean and healthy environment and (b) the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations must be upheld.

They also seek the court to declare that mining bauxite in the Atewa Forest violates the right to life and dignity enshrined under articles 13 and 15 of the Constitution.

The group will also seek an order restraining the Government of Ghana, its assigns from undertaking mining and its related activities in the Atewa Forest Range.

A couple of years ago, the Akufo Addo administration entered into a controversial deal with the Chinese Sinohydro Company to mine the lush forest reserve in return for a US$2 billion financing for infrastructure in Ghana.

“We being good citizens, support the government’s quest to develop Ghana and, as part of such efforts, to raise funds through various endeavours including exploiting the country’s resources. However, it is the case that Ghana does not need to exploit the Atewa Forest bauxite reserves since there are far richer bauxite reserves according to information available to government and to the entire Ghanaian populace,” states A Rocha Ghana in a statement issued today.

“The notice has been served bearing in mind several constitutional actions to draw government’s attention to the fact that mining in the Atewa Forest would be very detrimental.”

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