…as IES holds stakeholder engagement at Saltpond
The Institute for Energy Security, this week, held a district stakeholder engagement to discuss findings of their recent research report on lithium mining with members of the Saltpond community in the Central Region of Ghana. This is part of efforts to promote a symbiotic relationship between lithium mining companies and critical stakeholders, potential investors, and host communities.
The meeting was held on the theme ‘Avoiding the Mining Curse: Promoting efficient and sustainable lithium exploitation in Ghana’s mining sector through the adoption of best practices’.
The district stakeholder engagement brought together participants from traditional leaders, religious and opinion leaders, representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), District Police Command, Mfantseman Municipal Assembly, National Investigative Bureau (NIB), political party leaders, other agencies, and development partners.
In a brief welcome address, the Municipal Chief Executive of Mfantseman Municipal Assembly, Ike Lord Ennu, welcomed officials of the Institute for Energy Security and members of the house to this all-important meeting. He said the engagement would help promote the socioeconomic interests of the people in Mfantsiman and called for maximum support from the people.
He further stated that the Assembly would do its part of the bargain to ensure that the interests of the people of Mfantsiman are achieved. He also urged both the farmers and landlords of the operational communities (Abonko, Anokye, Kuntu, and Ewoyaa) to continue to demand whatever compensation is rightfully theirs.
Lawyer Edmond Kombat, Director of Research and Finance at IES, in his address, commended the community members for making time out of their schedules to attend this important meeting. He also used the opportunity to thank the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) for their contribution and support in this important meeting and expressed the hope that they would collaborate with IES in matters of this nature.
Lawyer Edmond hinted that the next phase of the dialogue would be an engagement with lithium mining companies in Ghana, followed by a national dialogue.
Lawyer Alhassan Iddrissu, a project consultant, outlined the purpose of the research in his presentation and called for input from the various stakeholders available to fine-tune it in the best interest of the people. He stated that this was being done to avoid the incidents that bedeviled the gold mining communities so that such things would not happen in Mfanstiman. He carefully described it as the “mining curse.”
He stressed that “we are not against lithium mining, but we want it to be done responsibly, and the miners have to be educated on the need to collaborate with the community, understand their needs, and channel their CSR initiatives to address them.”
The Chiefs affirmed that they would call on the mining companies to adhere to the protocols of the land and also demand what is rightfully theirs through CSR activities. They also made calls on the government to establish processing plants to add value to the mined lithium and not repeat the mistakes made in gold production. “We should present the best negotiators as a country so as to ensure contracts signed are favorable to the nation, which will then trickle down to citizens,” a participant added.
Nananom admonished that, as a matter of principle, the company should inform farmers, landholders, and or their representatives before any heavy machine, be it tractor or excavator, passes through their farms to avoid confrontation.
On his part, the Divisional Police Commander called on companies coming to the Saltpond area to be vigilant and support the security agencies with the needed logistics to ensure they are able to fight criminals who will emerge when commercial production starts.
Traditional leaders and opinion leaders within the municipality and region were called upon to support the exploration of lithium in commercial quantities in a manner that would be mutually beneficial to the community and its people.