The Efutu Traditional Council has asked the Minerals Commission not to issue a mining right license to a company to mine lithium at the Muni-Pomaze Ramsar site.
The Council asserts that the area which is home to special plant and animal species, represents the identity of Efutu State and is of socio-cultural significance to the chiefs and people of the area.
The site absorbs the shock of storm surges, provides water, absorbs rain, reduces flooding and delays the onset of droughts. It plays an essential role in adaptation and resilience to climate change.
Speaking to Ghana News Agency in an interview, Neenyi Ghartey VII, Paramount Chief of Efutu Traditional Zone, said that all processes regarding the proposed mining project must be halted.
He warned that the Efutu Traditional Council would seek redress in the appropriate forum if the claim is processed and a license granted for mining at the Ramser site.
The Council has requested the District Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to register its dissatisfaction with the Minerals Commission’s granting of the Minerals Enforcement Right.
Neenyi Ghartey VII was reacting to a gazette published by the Minerals Commission pursuant to Regulations 10(3), 94(3), 177(3), 207(3) of the Minerals and Mining (Licenses) Regulations, 2012 (LI 2176).
The gazette dated May 19, 2022 asks a landowner or lawful occupier who is likely to be affected by the grant of the mining right to submit a written statement of such owner or occupier’s interest to the Commission. minerals through the respective Assembly within 21 days. from the date of publication of the Gazette.
The Paramount Chief said the nominated area plays a crucial role in the famous traditional Aboakyeri, an important festival on the African continent and globally.
“If this request is successful, it will deprive the indigenous peoples of Efutu and its surroundings of their livelihoods as it will have a negative impact on the Muni Lagoon and the Ramsar Site as a whole,” he noted.
Neenyi Ghartey VII said that the lower parts of the nominated site also extend into El 63; an area voluntarily reserved by the government for the development of a tourist resort.
“Efutu State is aware of the long held idea of mineral interest in the hills forming the border with the Gomoa areas… It is not economical due to the trace minerals that are find there. The benefits and costs to the environment and society are disproportionate against the proposal,” he said.
Information gathered by the GNA indicates that Green Resources Ltd, the company applying for the operating license, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Ltd, formerly IronRidge Resources Ltd, but changed its name in 2021.
Its head office is in Australia.
An environmental scientist told GNA that the livelihoods of about 10 communities whose main activity is fishing and farming depend on the Muni-Pomaze Ramsar site.
According to him, the oral tradition indicates that the inhabitants of Efutu first settled around the Muni-Pomaze before dispersing in the current commune.
The area, originally called “Kweku Boni”, but later westernized into Muni-Pomaze, also helped the Efutu people during the civil war to defeat their attackers by drowning them.