Salt production expected to increase to approximately 2 million tons annually

The Coordinator of Third World Network, Africa, a Non-Governmental Organization, Dr. Yaw Graham, has called on the government to re-strategise its approach in the salt industry since salt mining and its associated activities provides livelihood and employment opportunities for a broad range of people both within their community and beyond.

Dr. Graham said the annual production figures average approximately 250,000 metric tons and that there is the potential to increase production to approximately 2 million tons annually because the West African sub region is a viable market for the mineral.

Dr. Graham said this during the 8th annual national forum, which provided platform for stakeholders to brainstorm on issues affecting the salt industry and to offer solutions.

The forum, which was organized by the National Coalition on Mining Ghana, was on the theme: “Artisanal and Small Scale Salt Mining: Issues and Challenges”.

According to Dr. Graham, the forum was critical because of recent violent confrontations in some salt-mining areas in the Ketu South Municipality was as a result of the operations of a multinational company.

He said operators have been placed at a significant disadvantage and this is affecting local economic development.

The Okor Songhor Women’s Association, an advocacy group in Sege, also asked government to provide credit to Small Scale Salt Miners in the communities to help check the activities of illegal salt mining.

Reverend Sophia Ogerkuor Kitcher, spokesperson of the group, is also calling for an effective regulatory framework to guard the Ada Songhor Salt Lagoon which has been engulfed by salt ‘galamsey’, leading to the destruction of natural resources and the environment.

Reverend Kitcher urged the clans in the community to resolve chieftaincy differences and use dialogue as last resort since the development of the community is critical to economic growth.

She called on landowners not to demand little money from government as royalty to the detriment of the community but more importantly ensure that a fair negotiation is held to benefit the interest of the community.

Rev Kitcher said the artisanal and small scale salt mining is responsible for producing 80 per cent of the national salt output and the idea to give licenses to companies to undertake large scale mining of salt would affect the businesses of the small scale sector.

She expressed worry about the poor nature of road network in the community in spite of the available resources and called on authorities to utilize the money judiciously for infrastructural development.

The Municipal Chief Executive of Ada West, Anthony Klokpa, commended the coalition for organizing the forum, saying the views of members will inform government’s effort in crafting the appropriate policies for the sector.

He called for dialogue in resolving any impasse in the community, urging the inhabitants to change their mindset from individualistic tendencies and focus on the interest of the community.

Source: GBC

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