GIISDEC, Diocese Agree On Exploration Terms


The initial concerns raised by the Bishop of the Jasikan Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel A.A. Mante, over planned exploration of the iron ore deposits in the Oti Region has been abated as the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) and the two issue a joint communiqué on the way forward.

The communiqué was preceded by a joint meeting on December 13, 2022 at the secretariat of the Catholic Diocese of Jasikan.

The communiqué signed by Most Rev. Gabriel A.A. Mante, Kwabena Bonsu Fordwor, CEO of GIISDEC and Joshua G. Makubu, Oti Regional Minister agrees that “the Lord Bishop is not against the exploration of the region’s natural resources for development but rather, his concern is focused on giving alternative livelihood to the citizens, for example, agriculture.”

The communiqué demands “that GIISDEC will broaden the stakeholder engagements across the entire region.”

Continuing, the communiqué states that “the regional minister and GIISDEC will ensure that the Mineral Resource Estimation (MRE) activities in the region are conducted in accordance with the relevant environmental laws and practices.”

GIISDEC is expected under the terms to undertake extensive public education on iron ore exploration and related matters through the mass media and other channels of communication.

Other terms of the communiqué include a continuous fostering of dialogue and discussion with stakeholders.

On the part of the Lord Bishop, the communiqué demands of him to “use his good offices to sensitise the public about the mandate of GIISDEC in representing the interests of Government of Ghana regarding iron ore exploration in the region.”

All the parties per the  terms agreed to the foregone “in good faith in the anticipation that this will strengthen the collective bond of the parties in promoting the development of effective and sustainable iron ore exploration in the region in the best interests of stakeholders.”

Until this milestone was reached, the Bishop had called upon traditional leaders in Oti and Volta regions to take “a determined and uncompromising stance” against the mining of iron ore and other minerals.

On Monday, November 21, 2022, Bishop Gabriel Akwasi Abiabo Mante said the mining of iron ore, which was discovered in five districts in Oti Region will be destructive to the environment and livelihood of the people of God in Ghana.

More iron ore deposits in commercial quantities have been discovered in Nkwanta, adding to the already headlined ones.

The Gyamurume and Wawaso areas boast of commercial deposits of the mineral resource.

With ten investors already given ten blocks to commence Mineral Resource Estimation activities and each of them investing $10m against the joint communiqué, responsible mining is set to take off.

The companies are expected to undertake geoscientific studies which will include assessment of tonnage, grade and value of iron ore.

The MRE is a crucial activity preceding full blown exploration.

By A.R. Gomda