Traditional leaders in the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve have sent a note of caution to the government, threatening to embark on a demonstration against it if it fails to address their concerns within ten (10) days.
According to the traditional leaders, although plans by the government to mine the huge bauxite deposits in the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve are good, the “deceitful and misleading” manner its representative, the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) are going about things have left them in doubt.
They have therefore, proposed a seven-point plan for the government to adopt to address their concerns.
Failure to act on their proposal within ten (10) days, according to the traditional leaders, will leave them with no option than to hit the streets and demonstrate against the government and resist any entry or whatsoever by any company into the forest to mine the bauxite until their concerns are addressed.
“We want to state that GIADEC’s plans and actions to mine bauxite in our area have been full of deceits and misleading. We therefore give the government ten days to respond to our demands. Should the government pay death ears to our demands, we shall demonstrate and send petitions to all embassies in Ghana. Also any company that will enter into the forest to mine bauxite shall fiercely be resisted and mining activities currently going on in the forest must stop immediately”, noted the traditional leaders in a statement jointly signed by Nana Tabbri Gyansa III, Mpasaso Omanhene (No. 1), Nana Kusi Amankwaa Marfo II, Nkwawie Panin Hene and Nana Apofo Twumasi III, Mpasaso No. II Hene on Friday, December 27, 2019.
For instance, the group wants the name ‘Nyinahin bauxite’ changed by consulting the traditional authorities in the area since it does not portray a true representation of ownership as far as other affected communities are concerned.
“This has resulted in a perceived monopolistic ownership by a section of the people. We therefore call for the change of name in consultation with the traditional authorities in the area as soon as possible”, the statement in part read.
They also want the government to appoint more of their people to serve on the governing Board of the GIADEC instead of one person currently serving on the Board considering the 70% bauxite deposit in their locality.
That aside, they want the Chief Executive Officer position of the GIADEC to be the preserve for the people from Tano-Offin area considering the chunk of bauxite deposits they have.
Additionally, the traditional leaders want the government to unconditionally reserve one out of the four bauxite concessions for them to buy.
Further to that, they want one of the proposed bauxite refineries to be built at Mpasaso and the smelter located at Nkawie Panin if the government wants their support to mine bauxite deposits.
“In the 2017 budget statement, the government made its intention to build a refinery at Kyebi clear at section 881. Also in the 2020 budget the government did state that it will build two refineries and one smelter but no location was mentioned which implies that the 2017 statement is still valid. We strongly state that one refinery should be built at Mpasaso and the smelter located at Nkawie Panin all in Ashanti region where 70% of Ghana’s bauxite deposit is found”, the statement by the group in part proposed.
The said refinery, they noted, must be built before mining of the bauxite commences to avoid a situation where the commodity is exported in its raw state.
GIADEC had plans to export the bauxite in its raw state for the first three years after which the country will start refining the commodity once a refinery is built.
Making their final request, the traditional leaders proposed to the government consider transporting the bauxite on a rail network instead of the roads, insisting that “We will vehemently resist any attempt by the government to transport raw or refined bauxite on our roads. Government must therefore ensure that the railway is ready to transport the bauxite before mining commences”.