The GaDangme Journalist Association embarked on an exciting visit to the Electrochem Salt Washing Plant at Songor in the Eastern Region. The group, consisting of approximately 50 journalists, eagerly gathered at the entrance of the salt-winning and washing site, ready to immerse themselves in the world of salt production.
With enthusiastic anticipation, the group was greeted by the company’s representative, who would guide them throughout the tour. They were first led to the Intake Area, then to the salt-winning area, (Industrial Area) where large rectangular ponds sparkled under the bright sunlight. The journalists were taken through the intricate process of salt manufacturing. The process was both mesmerizing and educational.
At the intake area also known as the lolo intake, Bernard Korley, the Public Relations Officer of Electrochem Ghana Limited, recalled, Prior to the modern way of pumping the sea water into the lagoon, Mr Korley recalled, the sea water flows naturally into the lagoon by gravitational force when the sea water reaches higher tide levels. The wind aids in blowing the excess water into the lagoon. This act often results in massive flooding of the surrounding communities such as kaplevu, Teacher Kofe and other surrounding areas.
Bernard Tetteh, Chief Operations Officer (COO) explaining further, mentioned that the company currently run three (3) pumps with one being able to pump 6.2 million litres of sea water per hour and giving a total of 18.6 Litres of water per hour for all three pumps.Hitherto the introduction of the pumps, Mr. Tetteh disclosed, they were relying on information from the production department as regards the actual period when there is high tide coming from the sea, according to him, armed with the above information, they then open the sea water to flow directly into the lolo then into the lagoon.
This practice however, as stated by the PRO, often results in total drought during the dry season or when the sea experiences low tides, making the lagoon area to become a desert without any water especially during the dry season and also when there is low tide from the sea.
As the tour progressed, the journalists had the opportunity to interview workers, who shared stories about their experiences and the importance of salt in their livelihoods. They learned about the company’s dedication to sustainable practices, ensuring minimal environmental impact. The journalists were inspired to spread awareness about the significance of salt production and the positive initiatives being undertaken by Electrochem Ghana Limited.
After the informative tour, a lively discussion session took place, between the team at Electrochem Ghana Limited and the visitors, allowing the Journalists (visitors) to
exchange thoughts and ideas. They discussed the importance of salt in local and international markets, the challenges faced by the salt industry, and ways to improve livelihoods within the community.
For his part the group Chairman of the McDan Group, Daniel McKorley, expressed excitement at the memorable visit by the group.
He disclosed that the sailt mine has been neglected for 54 years owing to litigations and misunderstanding amongst the communities within the songor area until quite recently when Electrochem Ghana Limited had the opportunity to revamp the salt mine to its current state where the company is able to export salt to abroad.
Mr. McKorley pointed out that an additional amount of USD 167 million is needed to develop and complete the total consession of
410000 acres. Furthermore, Mr. McKorley disclosed that an amount of USD 88 Million has been spent so far and resulted in the current status and operational capacity of the washing plant.
Interventions by Electrochem Ghana Limited;
1. construction of community pans for the indigenes to mine salt at every area Electrochem operates a commercial pan
2. Women support scheme with 19900 beneficiaries taking the sum of money between GHs1,000-2,0000 interest free loans
3. Road repairs as well as flood related interventions
4. Creation of canal , construction of drains (Zano)
5. Widow’s support scheme,
6. Educational support(books trunks cash for croceties)
7. Provision of three (3) brand new pickup vehicles for security support
8. Renovation of some delapiirated schools
9. Ramadan donation to the Muslim families
About Electrochem Ghana Limited
Eleanchem Ghna Ltd is a Ghanaian salt producing company and a subsičiary of thc McDan Group of Company Licensed to onerate the Songor salt mining concesson locatcd in Ada in the Greater Accra Region. The company was incorporated in accordance with the laws of Ghana in 2017.
Ih 2021 Eletrochem Ghana vas granted a fifteen-year (15) renewable mining licence br
the gorernment of Ghana to mine the salt resource in the 41,000 acre Songor concession which lies across both the Ada East and Ada West Districts.
Operations commencecd in January 2021 to revamp the national asset to produce 100,000 metric tons of first-rate salt (of 99.9% purity) per annum to serve both the loal and export markcts.
Operations are founded on four thematic areas: Strategic Business Standards and Pracices Sustainabilüty; Community Development and Global Partnership & Growth.
Established strategic patnerships with both local and international organizations with the
relevant technical expertise in the industry.
Current National Policy And Legislative Provisions Guiding Salt Operations;
1992 Constitution-Article 257 (6): Every mineral in its natural state in under or upon any land in Ghana, rivers, stream, water course throughout Ghana, the exclusive economic zone and any area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf is the property of the Republic of Ghana and shall be vested in the President on behalf of and in trust for the people of Ghana’
Sections 76 to 80 and 111 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, (ACT 703) states that, industrial mineral” means basalt, clay, granıte,
gravel, gypsum, aternte, limestone, marble, rock, sand, sandstone, slate talc, salt and other minerals as the Minister may from time to time declare by notice publshed in he Gazette, to be industrial minerals’.
Salt has ben classificd as an lndustrial Mineral since 2006, hence the need to focus on the growth of the Salt industry.
History of the Songor Lagoon;
Ownership of the allodial interest of the Songor lagoon and its adjourning
lands is held by four clans of the Ada Taditional area. The Clans are; Adibiawe, Lomobiawe, Tekperbiawe and Dangmebiawe.
The enclave of the Songor lagoon was identificd to be rich in salt deposits.
The salt deposits in the Songor area became a common communal resource.
All inhabitants of the Ada Traditional Area were granted access to mine salt.
Oral tradition has it that, at the time, salt formed every seven- eight years when the lagoon dried up, Local leaders used “gongo” to announce to the communitices that the salt had formed. All who are interested could go and mine.
Salt mining became an important economic activity for the people of Ada.
Over tüme, the mining methods (Atsiakpo) used by the locales caused damage to the lagoon, resulting in the drying of the lagoon and making it impossible to have access to sea water for salt mining.
Begnning in the 1960s to the 1990s, there was state intervention in salt mining in the Songor area.
Management of the lagoon and the salt resource had state Control.
Traditional authritg stll held the bencficial interest.
Concesson was granted to three Greek brothers (Vacuum Sal) In 1970, the Ghana
Business Promotion Act was passcd. The Greck broathers steped back and offered Messrs. SC Appenteng and Kankani Appenteng shares in Vacuum Salt.
Some Traditional Teaders also granted leascs for Star Chemical ONnd by one Mr. Nartey
Oheratims of these two companies sparked long years of litigation and unrest in the communities which led to the death of Maryaret Kuwormu, in 1985.
Governmnt ettorts to restore peace led to the apporntment of a Silt Dordkpment Tasks orce and Interim Management mitees whhch manaed sat mung at dhtfferent periods.
At the industrial Area; Bernard Tetteh, taking the journalists through the processes, disclosed that the company currently operates two (2) Washing lines with the capacity of washing 125 tons of salt each per hour, resulting in good quality salt in huge volumes.”Its the desire of the company to get the purest salt both for local and international markets,” he emphasised.
According to Ing. Asiedu Boateng, the Washing processs involves three (3) routine activities namely; Transport, Washing and Dewatering. Explaining further, with the mechanism, the civil structure Engineer, stated that the salt is dumped at the hoper area, vibrator feeder moves it unto a conveyor belt then to the washer where physical and chemical washing takes place.The physical washing turns the salt to white, whiles the chemical gets rid of the other compounds such as potassium chloride and other chemicals both soluble and insoluble that are not needed that crystallises with the salt.
From the washer, Ing. Asiedu, pointed out it moves to the dewatering area thus; the vibrating dyer, gets dried off then from one conveyor to the other, it goes finally to the stalk pile Area.
The visit to the Electrochem Salt Washing
Plant was not only an enlightening experience but also an occasion for the GaDangme Journalist Association to bond and collaborate. Armed with newfound knowledge, the journalists returned to their respective newsrooms, ready to share the fascinating tale of salt production and promote awareness of this essential resource. Their visit had not only enriched their own lives but also laid the foundation for future stories that would benefit the entire community.
By Kingsley Asiedu