Resolve clashes over Songhor salt

In November last year, the Mankralo of Ada, Nene Agudey Obichere, on behalf of the Chief of Ada, Nene Abram Kabu III, addressed a conference meant to thank the administration of  President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for fast-tracking the ratification of mining leases for mining of salt in the area.

The leases were with regard to Ada Songhor Salt Project in the Ada West Lease Area (Ada Songhor); the Ada Songhor Salt Project in Ada East Lease Area (Ada Songhor ‘B’); and the Ada Songhor Salt Project in the Ada East Lease Area (Ada Songhor ‘C’).

The three mining lease agreements were in line with Article 268(1) of the Constitution and Section 5(4) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and they were meant to grant mineral rights to an investor – Electrochem Ghana Limited – to dig for, mine and produce salt in the Ada Songhor area in the Greater Accra Region.

At the presser already referred to, Nene Obichere made reference to the fact that the government cancelled a lease agreement for mining salt in the area in 1985 following clashes, and later set up the Songhor Salt Project to resume with the salt mining – but the project lacked resources.

Thus, with Electrochem Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of the McDan Group, a group owned by a native of the area, Dr Daniel Mckorley, bringing in the required machinery, expertiseand financial resources, as well as agreeing to the relevant terms, the Ghanaian Times thought all would be well.

The company is even reported to have put in place a system to supply potable water to over 10 communities in the Ada area.

However, the clashes have persisted, with last Friday being a day of fresh clashes involving the police and residents.

It is reported that angry youth from Luhuor, near Sege in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra, on Friday clashed with police over the operations of Electrochem Limited.

Property worth several thousands of Ghana cedis was destroyed and one person sustained gunshot wounds, with 40 community members arrested.

The leases for Electrochem are supposed to last for 15 years and may be renewed subject to the minerals and mining laws of Ghana, but the question is, can the company operate efficiently in the midst of the persistent clashes resulting in destruction of its property and brutalization of workers, especially the security personnel?

The Ghanaian Times appeals for cool heads and consideration of the issues which have become the sources of the clashes for both the people and the company to have their peace of mind.

When allowed to operate peacefully, Electrochem is expected to produce 130,000 to 200,000 tonnes of salt, which can boost employment and economic activities within the Ada area.

It, therefore, behooves the government, the chiefs and their people and the company to urgently address the issues for the Ada area to realise the full potential and benefits of its mineral resource.

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