Cardinal Turkson tells Mills to protect Ghana's forest reserves from mining

Cardinal Peter Turkson has written to President John Atta Mills urging him not to allow mining activities to be done in Ghana’s forest reserves.

A report by the Catholic News Service of the Vatican says the Cardinal who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace wrote a letter to President Mills urging him that mining companies must be blocked from extracting minerals from Ghana’s few remaining forest reserves.

The publication quoted him as telling President Mills “to refuse to give in to a multinational company that is asking permission to start mining in one of the few remaining forest reserves” in Ghana.

According to the report, during a talk at an Italian school of theology in Florence March 1, the cardinal explained that Ghana — once called the Gold Coast — has long been targeted for mineral exploitation first by colonizing European nations and now by Western mining companies.

Minerals used to be extracted using underground methods, which left much of the land “relatively undisturbed; however today the mining method is open-pit or strip mining and this totally destroys the land’s natural surface,” he said.

He said he felt compelled to write to President Mills to encourage him to protect the forest’s natural habitat from mining, saying “indiscriminate mineral extraction destroys not only nature, but also human life and society.”

Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson is arguably one of Ghana’s most remarkable Catholic clergymen. His appointment recently to head the Justice and Peace Council led to predictions that he is on the way to become the first Black Pope of the 21st Century.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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