Ghana’s president announced earlier this week that his government is well into plans to take advantage of the bauxite ore reserves in the eastern reaches of his country.
In a speech delivered while touring the region President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that the government-owned Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) is working toward bauxite ore production in the region in order to provide much-needed jobs for the area.
“It is time to mine the bauxite here and plans are far advanced for us to mine the bauxite so that the people of Kyebi and Ghanaians, in general, would have employment which would generate income for them.”
Akufo-Addo spoke during the second day of his three-day tour of Atewa. The president promised that bauxite mining in the region would transform the local economy for Atewa as well as providing a boost for the Ghanaian economy in general.
“Government is committed to creating jobs and ensuring that people have enough money in their pockets,” he assured the assembled audience.
The Ghanaian government has come under harsh criticism in recent months and years due to deals with the People’s Republic of China for access to its bauxite reserves in exchange for infrastructure. In 2017 the government made such an agreement, following it up with plans for a joint partnership with Beijing on alumina refining.
The original US$10-billion agreement has China building alumina refineries and railroad infrastructure as well as conducting other non-bauxite related infrastructure projects in exchange for Chinese miners’ access to Ghana’s bauxite reserves.
Overall, agreements to grant access to Ghanaian bauxite have been harshly criticized by environmental interest groups, citing a risk of harm to Ghana’s forest areas and watershed. For his part, Akufo-Addo promised that all such projects would be carried out in an environmentally-responsible fashion with negligible risk to Ghana’s flora and fauna.