The joint communiqué issued at the end of a dialogue between the CEO of the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) and the Oti Regional Minister on one hand, and the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese Of Jasikan, representing the interests of the indigenes of the region, is heartwarming.
Coming on the heels of an earlier concern showed by Bishop Gabriel Mante regarding the environmental challenges which could be triggered by the mineral resource exploration, the parley has cleared doubts about whether or not best practices are going to be adhered to in the course of the extraction of the iron ore deposits in the Oti Region.
This is certainly the way to go when apprehensions crop up in matters which are of national importance such as the exploration of natural resources for the benefit of the whole country.
We would not pretend that exploration of mineral resources across the world have not resulted in loss of livelihood and impacted negatively on the environment.
In today’s world, however, templates influenced by past experiences have been created to protect the mutual interests of the locals in places where minerals exist and the government, the custodian of the country’s natural resources.
The templates, as alluded to in the aforementioned portions of this commentary, have been fashioned out to obviate the infamous resource curse including the environment.
Thankfully, during a forum organised by GIISDEC last year in Accra, and which brought together experts in various fields germane to the iron ore exploration, the issue of sustainable management of the iron ore deposits in the Oti Region was one of the components of the deliberations.
Sustainable exploration and the interests of the locals were some of the prominent issues of the assemblage of experts.
The concerns of the bishop who sought to ensure that his congregation does not suffer unduly through the exploration was a justifiable one. All he sought to do was to ensure that previous blunders regarding mineral resource exploration are not repeated.
The recent engagement among the various parties has made it possible for the officials of GIISDEC to convince the bishop and his constituents about how the exploration would be done, of course with the livelihood of the people in mind and sustainably.
The terms of the agreement herein referred to as communiqué, devoid of ambiguity as it stands, should be adhered to by all parties.
While GIISDEC should ensure that activities are done in conformity with best practices and periodically engaging with stakeholders, among others, the bishop, on the other hand, is duty bound to play out his portion of the agreement.
Educating his congregation about the importance of the exploration to the country and the mandate of GIISDEC, among others, as required of him, should go a long way in keeping the locals abreast with developments.
A country’s natural resources should be managed responsibly and sustainably for the benefits of all.
Both parties who have issued the communiqué of destiny must play their parts with the fear of God as a paramount bedrock for the progress of Ghana.
Nothing should stand in the way of the exploration of our mineral resources by state established entities.