…as it inaugurates community-based committees
The Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) is soon expected to conclude the process for selecting new strategic partners for bauxite mining in Kyebi, Awaso and Nyinahin, the Chief Executive of GIADEC, Michael Ansah, has said.
This comes as the company has reached the final stage of its investor engagement process, which started about a year ago. The coming on board of new investors, among others, will expectedly also lead to setting up a refinery for bauxite as well as retrofitting the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO).
According to Mr. Ansah, GIADEC has reached an agreement with Bauxite Minerals Group, operating in Sefwi Awaso in the Western North Region, to expand its bauxite mining operations from 1 million metric tonnes to about 5 million metric tonnes. In addition, the company is expected to establish a 1.6 million metric tonnes aluminium processing plant.
“All of these are in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding that we have signed and are looking to execute,” he said. It against this backdrop that GIADEC has engaged all the catchment areas for bauxite mining, leading to the inauguration of Community-Based Committees.
Mr. Ansah, who was speaking in an interview after the inauguration of the 19-member Committee at Sefwi Awaso in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipality of the Western North Region, explained that building a partnership of trust with communities will help in the right exploitation of bauxite deposits.
He explained that the Act establishing GIADEC enjoins it to operate in a manner that brings positive participation and ownership by locals. The operations of companies in bauxite mining will significantly take into consideration the issue of local content. He is optimistic that contributions from the various communities will help to direct the right social and economic development into the catchment communities of the bauxite operations.
Mr. Ansah stated that the interventions of civil society organisations (CSOs) are welcome, to enhance the commitment to promote responsible mining activities which place the utmost importance on environmental safety.
The Awasohene, Nana Kwame Amponsah III, who is also chair of the 19-member Community-Based Committee, for Awaso, lauded the initiative to involve the various communities in operations of GIADEC.
He said in the past the company, which operated in the area, made very little effort to relate with the communities. It is in view of this that he noted the coming of this new committee will create an avenue to channel the communities’ concerns to the companies working around.
“As a community, the youth are our future; the lack of employment drives them to other towns and cities, denying us of able-bodied persons to support local development. In respect to this, we hope that this new arrangement will lead to youth employment and skills training.”
Chairman of the Amanano Mining Advocacy Group, and Secretary to the Nyinahin Town Elders Society, Nana Oppong Denkyerie, however, insisted that there should be a legislative guarantee that the work of GIADEC will be sustained irrespective of the political party in power. He said governments’ penchant for discontinuing initiatives started by the administration before them retards the development of communities and the country as a whole.