The Catholic Bishop of Jasikan, Most Rev Gabriel A. A Mante, has asked traditional leaders in Oti and Volta regions to block any attempt by the state to mine iron, a recently discovered mineral resources in the Oti region.
Recently, the Oti Region Minister Joshua G. Makuba announced the discovery of Iron ore in the region.
He urged investors to begin looking for lands in the region to start their investments there due to the discovery.
Mr Makuba said these at press conference in Accra on Sunday, October 9, 2022.
“Currently we are at a stage the technical people will call it mineral resource estimation to get the actual tonnage available on the land,” he stated.
In a statement reacting to this, the Catholic Bishop of Jsaikan indicated that mining in and around mountainous areas could be a potential cause of disasters. For instance, if mining would be done on the 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 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.
“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.”
He added “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 these resources namely: the iron ore, the gold and the lithium. In connection with the forgoing, a few pertinent questions arise.
“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 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.”