Catholic Bishop unhappy with Ghana government move to mine iron ore in Oti Region
Most Reverend Gabriel A. A Mante, Catholic Bishop of Jasikan, has raised concerns over the government’s decision to start the mining of Iron ore, a recently discovered mineral resource in the Oti region.
The Oti Regional Minister, Mr Joshua G. Makubu at a press conference in Accra earlier in October, announced the discovery of Iron Ore in commercial quantities in the region and urged investors to begin looking for lands in the region to start their investments there due to the discovery.
“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 industrialised nation has been found in the Oti region and that is the Iron- ore,” he said.
“Currently, we are at a stage the technical people will call mineral resource estimation to get the actual tonnage available in the land,” he stated.
In a statement reacting to the Regional Minister’s announcement, Most Rev. Mante said there was no guarantee that mining the mineral in the region would contribute to the economy of the local people.
He indicated that mining in and around mountainous areas could be a potential cause of disasters.
He said for instance, if mining were done at Akpafu Todzi, 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 Akpafu Todzi, could slide off causing harm to the lives and property-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.”
According to the Bishop, 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 resource which has 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-we call 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 the resource.”
Most Rev. Gabriel Mante reminded the people of the Oti and Volta regions of their 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 concluded.