Ill-Informed Catholic Bishop Polluting minds of Chiefs
An Oti Region-based Catholic bishop has launched what appears to be a dangerous crusade against plans by government to mine iron ore in the region, claiming it would lead to deaths and landslides, among others.
Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante, who is the Catholic Bishop of Jasikan, and presently rallying the support of chiefs and opinion leaders from the area, claims that mining iron ore in the region will not benefit the people, hence the traditional authorities should revolt against it.
According to him, the mining,which is expected to commence by end of 2023, could cause mountainous areas to slide off, and thereby cause deaths and harm to life and property.
In a statement to address the development, the Catholic Bishop said that mining in and around mountainous areas is not the best and has its consequences.
“For instance, if mining would be done on the AkpafuTodzi, Teteman, and other nearby mountainous areas, the constant disturbance of the mountains and vibrations caused by heavy equipment could lead to landslides.
“The result will be that a whole village, such as Teteman or AkpafuTodzi, could slide off causing death, harm to lives and properties. Communities living in the nearby valleys could also be buried by the same landslides. In the case of Bowiri communities, their ancestral home will be destroyed,” Bishop Mante stated.
Without considering thousands of jobs that would be created for the teeming youth, Most Rev. Gabriel. Mante, who is 75 years old, insists, “There is no guarantee that mining in the Oti Region will contribute to the economy of the local people. The aforementioned repercussions, the destruction of the environment, the health implications and the worsening indigenous economy far outweigh the benefits that could be derived from mining the mineral resources.
“In considering all that has been said, we call upon the traditional leaders, both in the Oti and Volta Regions to take a determined and uncompromising stance against the mining of the mineral resources which have now been discovered and those yet to be discovered. We would like to remind them that their greatest responsibility from God and our ancestors is to protect the lives God has entrusted to them to lead.”
The Catholic Bishop of Jasikan further called upon all government officials within these two regions to re-examine whatever agreement they must have reached with companies which have been invited or contracted to mine these resources, namely the iron ore, the gold and the lithium.
“First, are the repercussions of mining these mineral resources mentioned above favourable or not to our people? Second, will the mining of these mineral resources address the present and future needs of the people? We would like to remind the people of these two regions that they have an inalienable right to life and for that reason any reality which has the potential to threaten this life must be resisted.
In this regard we urge them to deny any necessary support for the mining of these mineral resources in our two regions,” he stressed.
He has, therefore, called on the traditional leaders, both in the Oti and Volta regions, to take a determined and uncompromising stance and resist any attempt by governmentto mine the mineral resources in the Oti region.
Ore Discovered In 5 Districts
At a recent press engagement on Sunday, October 9, 2022, the Oti Regional Minister, Joshua G. Makubu, announced that, iron ore has been discovered in five districts of the region.
He mentioned that the iron has been found in the Guan, Biakoye, Jasikan, Kadjebi and Krachi East districts.
“Currently we are at a stage the technical people will call it mineral resource estimation to get the actual tonnage available on the land before mining can start,” the minister disclosed.
Joshua G. Makubu was hopeful the discovery of the mineral will boost Ghana’s economy and industrialization.
“I want to advise people in Accra to start looking for land in the Oti Region because what is going to take Ghana from our current state to a very industrialized nation has been found in the Oti Region and that is the iron ore,” he said.
There is already collaboration between the Ghana Integrated Iron Ore Development and the Geological Service Department for further arrangements on the discovery, pending the mining of the natural resource.
The Minister added that, private investors have also begun committing funds towards the commercialization of the mineral.
“If you want to establish a steel company, don’t be focusing too much on Tema. Come to the Oti Region,” he stressed.
The Ghana Geological Survey Authority led the discovery of large quantities of Iron ore deposits. The Iron ore is 55.22 weight percent and of a higher grade.
The Oti Regional Minister said the government is determined to provide value to the raw commodity and would ensure that the full value chain is retained in the region and the country at large.