Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Frimpong Boateng, has chided environmentalists, residents and other stakeholders condemning government’s decision to engage in bauxite mining in the Atewa forest when the area is actually being affected by works of illegal miners.
Prof Frimpong Boateng in an interview with www.ghanaweb.com, indicated how some residents and other entities were at the forefront of illegal small-scale mining activities in the area, a situation he described as worrying.
The chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining further stated that he was disappointed at the manner in which environmentalists were venting at government’s decision rather than coming on board to aid them fight the menace in the area.
“…right now, Atewa forest, in the Eastern Region, that area is under attack by illegal mining. And I find it strange that these so-called environmentalists are not coming to us or helping us fight the pressing attack on Atewa, but they always talk about bauxite mining. I have seen some people who are shouting bauxite, bauxite but in a way are involved in illegal mining activities going on right now in Atewa forest,” he stressed.
He urged environmentalists and other stakeholders to come on board to help curb the menace of illegal mining which was growing rapidly in the Atewa area, rather than condemning government over its decision which has not yet come to fruition.
“…if there’s a problem we should not link it to bauxite alone, we should see it as an attack; there are people doing illegal logging, but no one talks about it. People who are doing illegal small-scale mining in that area, which we are fighting and Operation Vanguard are helping us. So if it’s a fight, it must not be linked to bauxite alone…”
Government has come under intense backlash over the decision to allow a proposal to mine for bauxite in the Atewa forest range.
Environmentalists and civil society organisations (CSOs) have in that regard filed a lawsuit against government.
The CSOs, numbering twenty-one and led by A Rocha Ghana and Flower Ghana, have filed a notice of instituting a civil action against the government through the Attorney General. The move is an attempt to halt the government from following through with the decision to mine.
Pix: Prof. Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation