The Atewa Forest Reserve in Ghana’s Eastern Region is home to rare Bauxite mineral – which is used to make a variety of things including airplanes, cars, cooking utensils and some types of cement. Local residents and environmental campaigners fear the ecosystem would be irreversibly damaged if Ghana goes forward with its plans for the Chinese Development Bank to mine bauxite in the reserve - the main source of three major rivers that serve five million people in Ghana.
The $10 billion deal, agreed back in June 2017, Ghana will give up about 5% of its bauxite to China. China would then pay Ghana with a variety of infrastructure projects including expanding the rail network, building new roads and bridges. The government estimates Ghana’s total untapped bauxite reserves at $460 billion and is hoping to cash in on the rise in the price of alumina which is a more refined bauxite.