The Okor Songhor Women’s Association, an advocacy group in Sege, has called on government to provide credit to Small Scale Salt Miners in the communities to help check the activities of illegal salt mining.
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 Sophia Ogerkuor Kitcher, spokesperson for the Group, said this during the 8th annual national forum, which provided platform for stakeholders to brainstorm on issues affecting the sector and offer solutions.
The forum, organized by the National Coalition on Mining Ghana, was held on the theme: “Artisanal and Small Scale Salt Mining: Issues and Challenges”.
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.
Dr Yaw Graham, Coordinator of Third World Network, Africa, a Non-Governmental Organization said the forum was critical because of recent violent confrontations in some salt-mining areas in the Ketu South Municipality as a result of the operations of a multinational company.
Dr Graham said the annual production figures average approximately 250,000 metric tonnes and that there was the potential to increase production to approximately 2 million tonnes annually because the West African sub region is a viable market for the mineral.
He said salt mining and its associated activities provided livelihood and employment opportunities for a broad range of people both within their community and beyond.
He called on government to re-strategize its approach in the salt industry because it has placed the operators at a significant disadvantage and this is affecting local economic development.
Mr Anthony Klokpa, Municipal Chief Executive of Ada West, commended the coalition for organizing the forum, saying the views of members would 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.