A group of local non-profit organisations claims that promises from government to engage in ethical, responsible and environmentally-friendly practices in mining bauxite in the Atewa Forest, have been broken.
In a statement released to media Tuesday, they say the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amenu, informed residents at Takwa-Nsuta in the Western Region Friday that he would assert sustainable measures to ensure the safeguard of the people.
â€œIf we are to take the statement of the Minister by its true intent, then there is a need for all of us to clearly understand the principles that underpin responsible mining and sustainable use of resources and for which the Minister so refers to,â€ the NGOs wrote.
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Those NGOs include: The Coalition of NGOs against Mining in Atewa, Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape, Green Livelihood Alliance and Shared Resource Joint Solutions.
Bauxite is a rare sedimentary rock found mostly around the Earthâ€™s equator. It is the raw material used to make aluminum, the worldâ€™s third most copious element after oxygen and silicon.
Mining them involves digging through several metres of rock and clay, which can threaten the drinking water for millions of Ghanaians.
Read: Weâ€™ll mine Atewa bauxite responsiblyâ€™ â€“ Amewu to residents, CSOs
The Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources did not immediately respond to requests made for comment, but in documentation made available on its website, they admit that â€œenvironmental degradation is a big challenge of the sector.â€
According to the Ministry, mining contributes roughly 27% to the governmentâ€™s revenue and employs approximately 28,000 people.
Twelve attempts to mine bauxite in Atewa Forest left negative impacts on water, health and the well-being of residents in the area, the statement reads.
The NGOs further stated that responsible mining includes strategising management processes that achieve positive impacts for stakeholders and communities.
Emergency response mechanisms, redevelopment of mines and pre-informed decision making all play critical roles in achieving responsible mining records, they advised.
Negative impacts of bauxite mining include the leaching of arsenic and lead â€“ among other hazardous materials, which can contaminate drinking water, leading to infertility and increased death rates.