The Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), the body mandated to exploit the country’s vast bauxite resources, has affirmed its commitment to responsible and sustainable development of the bauxite industry.
Michael Ansah, GIADEC’s Chief Executive Officer, made the commitment at an environmental workshop held by the Corporation on Wednesday to update the media on the protective and sustainable plans and measures it was implementing to preserve the environment in its natural state.
Explaining the rationale for the workshop, he said in pursuit of transparency and accountability, GIADEC intends to keep every detail of its exploration, exploitation and restoration activities within the public space to enable an appreciation of its strict adherence to international standards and regulations.
The workshop saw facilitators briefing the media on three areas which are key to the mining of bauxite in the allotted enclaves.
The Director of Mines at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ransford Sekyi, outlined the processes for acquiring permits and commended GIADEC for duly following the procedural requirements of the EPA. He revealed that even though mining has not begun, GIADEC has consulted and involved the EPA in all of its preliminary activities.
He further disclosed that the EPA has commissioned the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to conduct a baseline biodiversity study in the Atewa Forest Reserve, the outcome of which will address public concerns on preservation of the environment.
Dr. Benjamin B. Campion, an academic at KNUST’s Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources who is leading the research, explained that the dangers to the forest Atewa Forest Reserve include invasive alien species, climate change, tourism, habitat change, hunting, increasing wildlife trade, and legal and illegal logging.
He added that the greatest threat to the forest may not be the entry of legal mining companies, who will preserve and restore the environment as required by regulation, but rather the activities of illegal miners, which have worsened over the years.
Adwoa Paintsil, from the Water Resources Commission, walked participants through the permits needed to ensure water bodies are not negatively impacted by mining activities. She said once all relevant regulations are adhered to, river bodies such as Birim, Densu and Ayensu within the Atewa forest are not likely to be destroyed.
She added that the Water Resources Commission will restrict any activity that becomes a threat to water and livelihoods in Atewa.