The Coalition of NGOs Against Mining Atewa (CONAMA) has asked the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) to be open to the public on the bauxite development agenda.
GIADEC on December 2019, held a media engagement to brief the media on the latest developments in the sector, but CONAMA is refuting that certain key points made in their statement do not reflect reality.
A statement by CONAMA signed by Mr Daryl Bosu, copied to the media said, the figures given by GIADEC was long-known figures for Ghana's bauxite reserves estimated at 920 million tonnes, but did not make clear the quantity of bauxite available for mining.
The CONAMA statement revealed that some of this bauxite was in the forest reserves legally protected from mining and that even if the law permits it, we must question, "whether it is wise to mine the forests due to the extensive damage that would be caused to watersheds, ecosystem services, wildlife and natural resources exceeding any benefits gained for Ghana's development."
It said GIADEC in their briefing boasted of its stakeholder engagements, saying "it understands the important role of traditional authorities, local communities and other stakeholders in the process and they are now developing 'a robust stakeholder engagement strategy'."
This strategy the Coalition noted should have been drawn up and shared long ago, based on the 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) principles that were already available for GIADEC to draw on, adding that the non-existence of the stakeholder strategy was undermining the rights of local communities to FPIC.
It said "this strategy must be shared with all affected communities, civil society groups and other stakeholders for evaluation and to ensure they are included in this process."
It said GIADEC in their briefing again stated its commitment to protecting vegetation, water bodies and wildlife in any forest reserve where mining would be undertaken and gave some examples to support their claim that bauxite has been mined in a sustainable manner in the Jarrah Forest, Western Australia.
The CONAMA statement again refuted saying, but to restate a Jarrah Forest is a simple forest system with much less human pressure and has a potential for reforestation, a point we have made before, but the Atewa Forest, by contrast, is a highly biodiverse complex tropical forest which would not be possible to return it to its pre-mined state of high biodiversity.