All is set for the extraction and processing of commercial grade iron ore in the Oti Region and sustainably so.
Adjoining the infant region, in the Volta Region are said to exist other natural resources such as lithium and gold.
The Catholic Bishop of Jasikan, Most Rev Gabriel A.A. Mante, is, however, urging or even inciting the people of the two regions to resist any attempts at extracting the minerals because he fears the resource curse which has afflicted other mineral-existing areas in the country, might visit them too.
The strongly worded statement in which he pours out his heart and those of the clergy and lay faithful as he put it, does not leave any reader in doubt about the angst of the Bishop.
While we acknowledge the resource curse which has visited some parts of the mining areas in the country and elsewhere outside Ghana, we would be quick to state that this should not stop the state from embarking upon projects which have long-term dividends for the country.
The lessons garnered from existing mineral extraction parts of the country have impacted positively the fledgling iron ore industry. The two-day roadmap programme, under the auspices of the Ghana Integrated Iron Ore & Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC), tackled such fears which the Bishop alluded to.
Prior to the foregone, the management of GIISDEC and the Board Chairman engaged with stakeholders in Oti Region to discuss issues of common interest. Critical issues were discussed on the way forward.
It would be unwise even unacceptable if GIISDEC does not learn from the mistakes of its forebears in the extractive industry and chart a better course.
We are convinced that the locals stand to benefit beyond the expectation of the learned yet angry Bishop when the extraction of the iron ore is in full flight.
No longer will new ventures such as the GIISDEC overlook the interests of the locals in the areas of their activities whose youth have been promised employment in the iron ore industry.
As for the iron ore bearing forests, the international best practices would be brought to bear on their management, GIISDEC has promised.
The industrialisation dream of the country would be meaningless if such natural resources such as iron ore, lithium as they exist in Oti and Volta Regions, are allowed to sit in the bowels of the earth idly.
We urge the Bishop to calm down and allow the trepidation which he claimed overwhelmed him when he learned about the 2023 projected year for the commencement of the extraction of iron ore in Oti Region, to evaporate.
The people of the region and the rest of Ghana need the proceeds of the iron ore for their development. That a new region has been blessed with such commercially viable natural resources is an undeniable blessing which should not suffer the fears as expressed by the Bishop.
We respect the views of the Bishop, not however, his seeming inciting of the people of the region against constituted authority.