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General News of Monday, 23 November 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Ada chiefs expect employment boom as Electrochem Songhor Salt Project takes off

Mankralo of Ada, Nene Agudey Obikyere Mankralo of Ada, Nene Agudey Obikyere

The chiefs and people of Ada say they are expecting the youth of their communities to get access to gainful employment following the ratification of the mining leases to the Ada Songhor Salt Project.

Last month, the country’s parliament reviewed a Mining Lease Agreement between the Government of Ghana and Electrochem Ghana Ltd in respect of the Ada Songhor salt for 15 years subject to renewal upon expiration.

Mining Lease Agreements for the Ada Songor Salt Project gives Electrochem Ghana Limited the mineral rights to dig for, mine and produce salt in the areas specified in the agreement for a term period of 15 years.

The ratification of the leases has since brought excitement to the youth of the area that the chronic unemployment which has plagued the area for several years will soon be a thing of the past.

According to Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, Chief of Ada, President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo deserves commendation for working to ensure the ratification of the mining leases to the Ada Songhor Salt Project.

Addressing a Press Conference on behalf of the Chief last week, Mankralo of Ada Nene Agudey Obikyere said the people of Ada have over the years been deprived of access to the river for both fishing and salt mining.

This, he said had fueled tension and outrage resulting in conflict with their grantees.

According to him, in 1985 the government cancelled the lease agreement and set up the Songhor Salt Project to continue with the salt mining but the project was deprived of resources.

Nene Kabu Akuaku III said after several attempts on his part and other chiefs and stakeholders to the relevant authorities, President Akufo-Addo stepped in and worked on the processes and sent three mining lease agreements to Ada Songhor Salt Project through the Minerals Commission and the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources to Parliament for ratification.
“I am further delighted to say that Parliament, after going through its due process has ratified these agreements in favour of Electrochem Ghana Limited (EGL) associated with our preferred investor,” he said.

Employment boom

The Chief also indicated that to meet its Local Content obligations, EGL is mandated to source its skilled and unskilled labour force first from Ada, the Ada traditional authority will have representatives on the Board to oversee the smooth running of the project.

EGL revealed that it intends to produce between 130,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes of salt within the first two years. Mr Michael Martey, Production Coordinator for EGL also confirmed that the company will rely heavily on the labour force in the community to ensure the agreement and partnership is a win-win for all parties involved.

Aside from the imminent employment boom, the chief revealed that all the clans in Ada shall be beneficiaries of a Chief’s palace complex. Other benefits will include the construction of an Astroturf at Ada by the company, and scholarships for brilliant but needy students in Ada.

He urged residents in and outside Ada to have confidence in the project and ensure that it benefits the entire Ada.

The national potential production capacity for salt is estimated at 2,330,000 metric tonnes out of which the area under consideration, accounts for about 1.4 million metric tonnes.

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