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Volta Region: Abutia chief fumes over “mining of lithium” in Kalakpa forest and game reserve

The Abutia Traditional Authority has called on the Minerals Commission to immediately halt any attempt to mine lithium in the Kalakpa Forest

Traditional authorities in Abutia  in the Ho West District of the Volta region have called on the Minerals Commission and the government to immediately halt any attempt to mine lithium in the Kalakpa Forest and Game Reserve.

On 29 February 2024, the Ghanaian Times published that, a mining firm, X10 Resources, based in Kumasi has shown interest in mining lithium in parts of the reserve, hence the public was given a 21-day to raise objections if any.

During the 2024 Asafotu Easter celebration in Abutia Gorve, the paramount chief of Abutia Traditional Area, Togbega Abutia Kodzo Gidi V said he would not allow the illegal mining to continue.

He explained that the Minerals Commission including other stakeholders have not consulted him including the individual landowners who are all indigenes of Abutia.

“We have not been consulted, the people of Abutia are not happy about that and we are not going to allow it to happen,” the chief said on Saturday (30 March).

According to the announcement by the Minerals Commission, land owners and traditional authorities in the North Tongu District have been consulted by the mining firm because the demarcated areas for the mining activity fall under the North Tongu enclave.

But Togbega Abutia noted that no part of the forest reserve belongs to the people of North Tongu.

The chief explained that the reserve shares a boundary with North Tongu but no portions of the forest belong to any individual from the Tongu area.

“We have realised that they’ve classified those areas (areas to be mined) as if they are within North Tongu. That one is not contestable, even the people in Agortive and Avetakpo know the land on which they are is for Abutia. Maybe someone somewhere didn’t do their work properly to have assumed that those areas are for North Tongu” the chief claimed.

The areas the mining firm is set to explore are Agortive and Avetakpo. These are farming communities within the forest.

An opinion leader of Abutia, Nelson Adom explained that residents of the farming communities within the forest are not indigenes of Abutia but rather settlers from the Tongu areas who were allowed by the forefathers of Abutia to farm in the forest to protect it against poaching.

“Those people living on the land are settlers. It was our grandfathers and fathers who put them there to protect the land. They know that the land does not belong to them but because we are far from them that is why they want to play smart.”

He further mentioned that the forest belongs to the people of Abutia and it has been demarcated and documented.

According to the opinion leader, the forest area is reserved for tourism and hospitality purposes but over the years “that purpose has been defeated”.

The community members say they shall “fight to our last blood” just to prevent the mining activity. They say they would welcome any developer that would develop the place for tourism and hospitality but not excavate the land for minerals.

“The question is how do we blend mining with tourism? That’s number one, number two, where is the environmental impact assessment report to the community? We’ve not seen it” another resident asked.

The Kalakpa Forest Reserve is the largest natural reserve in the Volta Region. It covers an area of over 32,000 hectares of land.

The forest has rosewood including a variety of tree and animal species. Over the years, poaching has degraded portions of the forest.

Reporting by Albert Kuzor in the Volta Region

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