Letter to the Leadership of Parliament to Galvanize National Support for Electrochem Ghana Ltd
Dear Speaker and other Leadership of Parliament,
As you are aware, Parliament is the Legislative Body of a Government due to being the House of Representatives, since the House represents the popular will or Sovereignty of the Citizens. This is so, because the Members of Parliament were/are directly elected by the Citizens of Ghana and the Citizens indirectly elect the Speaker of Parliament when he is elected by the elected Representatives of the Citizens.
By a Constitutional successional provision, the Speaker is third in the line to assume as President of Ghana, when both the President and Vice President are not able to perform functions of the President, until the President or the Vice President is able to perform those functions or a new President assumes office as the case may be.
Lastly, the Speaker performs his or her Parliamentary duties with nominated persons from both the Majority and Minority Group to constitute the Leadership of Parliament. Beside the Speaker, the Leadership of Parliament include First and Second Deputy Speakers, Majority Group and Minority Group Leaderships etc as the Leadership of Parliament.
Beside law making, oversight, and representation, Parliament should play a critical role in advancing sustainable development and dealing with matters hampering or with the tendency to hamper national cohesion and economic development of any part of the Country or and the Country in general. It is for the development agenda of Parliament that firstly, I wish to commend you, the Right Hon Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, as the first Speaker of Parliament for living up to the Speaker’s expected Constitutional duties and notwithstanding the fact that you are a member of the Opposition Party of the NDC, a situation of the first of its kind in the Fourth Republic of Ghana, you have demo a very high level of impartiality in your duties and for going an extra mile with visits to some media Houses including Media General and initiated nationwide tour in 2023 for advancing sustainable development, beside your duties in the Precinct of Parliament.
The visits has exposed and will expose you to the societal concerns for each of the 16 Regions of Ghana which you may bring to the notices of the Executive Arms of Government or your good friend President Nana Addo for the proper attention.
Considering the polarized atmosphere in our Political Dispensation, it will be very good that the Leadership of Parliament act en bloc thus demo unity in diversity beyond the precinct of Parliament to deal with national matters threatening social fabric, national cohesion or effective National Development.
Hon Right Speaker and the other Leaderships, as indicated, you must act in en bloc with impartial character to deal with or resolve National issues negating national development. So, I hereby write to you people, (the Leadership of Parliament) to draw your attention to one of the bones of contention of the Nation that requires the intervention of a National leadership or group as stated characterized with impartiality, so as to be well received especially by belligerents and listened to, for the resolution of the confrontation in this submission between a segment of the population in Ada and a Mining Company. This involved about 90,000 people in Ada and Electrochem Ghana Ltd, Ada, a wholly owned Ghanaian Company which is a subsidiary of McDan Group of Companies, with Dr Nii Daniel Mckorley as the Owner/Founder/Executive Chairman.
Hon Right Speaker and others, Electrochem Ghana Ltd, was registered in 2017, as a Large Scale Mining Company within the Industrial Minerals Mining Sector, precisely it to mine or is mining Salt for export and local market and it is envisaged the Company has the prospects to produce Sodium from Sodium Chloride or salt for the transition from fossil energy to clean energy. Hence it has the potential to play a major in the global and local energy industry and should therefore should be regarded Company that requires National Support to grow regardless of its private ownership character.
Electrochem Ghana Ltd was commissioned on 30 August 2023 by the President of Ghana after the Company went through the legal process to acquire a mining lease or concession of 41,000 acres from the State at Ada Songor. It is alleged the Company has the potential to produce two million metric tonnes of Salt of Sodium Chloride with different brands for export and the local market.
Currently, it has employed over 1000 people with multiple effects and will bring the number to over 2,000 direct employees at full capacity, not speaking about the thousands of indirect employees in the Supply chain/side streams. It has the plan to establish Chlor-Alkali Plant for production of caustic soda and other chemicals. Hence, it has the potential to support cost effective 24 hours economy.
Hon Right Speaker, a report have it that over 650,000 metric tonnes of salt was exported to Spain last year, as initial export with a hope to continue to export to the global market especially making a strong footprint in the African Continental Free Trade Area to meet both the huge demand for salt for domestic consumption and for the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries.
History have it that in September 2020, the people of the affected areas got aware that the Mining Lease was granted to Electrochem Ghana Ltd and the Company received the endorsement of the Ada Traditional Council and some of the indigenes coincidentally the owner is one of the indigenes bringing rapid massive development to his people. That after the legal acquisition of the Mining Lease, Electrochem Ghana Ltd and the Ada Traditional Council with the Ada Paramount Chief signed a Memo of understanding for the operations of the Company at a portion of the Songhor Lagoon Basin termed as the Songor Salt Project Area. Hence, free consent of the Traditional and Opinion Leaders has been met. It is alleged that a mail date 08 Feb 2021 from SIGA affirmed the Songor Salt Project that was granted to Electrochem Ghana Ltd.
The Company intends to list in the Ghana Stock Market a very laudable idea by the Company to stimulate investment for sharing dividends with the citizens. Listing in the Ghana Stock Market in order to stimulate wealth creation for the benefit of the citizens will be in line with Section (6) of Article 257 of the 1992 Constitution which bestowed the ownership of minerals in Ghana to the citizens, hence Electrochem Ghana Ltd should be regarded as the Company for the Citizens of Ghana by a Citizen of Ghana. So, the leadership of Parliament which is the House of the Representatives of the Citizens, must see Electrochem Ghana Ltd as Company that deserves National support hence your endorsement, as the Leadership of the House of Representatives of the Citizens.
The vision of the Company, among others is to produce the best quality salt on the Market that inspires people to cook, eat and live well. One may add as a leading Company facilitating the transition from fossil energy to clean energy.
The Company intends to add an industry and service infrastructure by the constructing an Ada port to ease transport of the salt pumping of seawater to salt ponds or the lagoons using very efficient pumps.
The Company without making profit or undertaking effective operations, has front loaded some of the Company’s Social Responsibilities (CSR) as part of measures to ensure sustainable livelihood of the indigenes of the Company’s footprint by bringing some early development to the Communities within the Catchment areas. This also serves as a measure for wining the hearts and minds of the people for its operation.
Among the initiatives include what look like a ‘Live and Let us Live Policy (scratch my back and I will also scratch your back) policy by the building of community pans or small scale or community or artisanal mining areas across the entire area of the 41,000 acres of the concession with the notion to create 32 acres of community pans along her operations for the time tested traditional or artisanal mining with some technical support to the operators.
This policy of Live and Let us Live was initiated in Bogoso Mine in 2004, by me the year I also initiated the Ghana Chamber of Security Committee when I was promoted to Security Superintendent of the Company. This saw the establishment of the Prestea Mining Group (my initiative without any gain even a sachet of water from the Galamasey operators).
The Prestea Mining Group was/is a coalition of small scale miners in Prestea to facilitate control as and when necessary especially when International Financial Analysts/media were visiting the Mine. The policy of Live and Let us Live, helped create congenial atmosphere for the operation of Golden Star Resources Ghana Ltd through Bogoso Gold Ltd, this helped Golden Star Resources to operate profitably not only by gold sales but a sudden dramatic increase in the price of her shares due to demand for the shares outpaced supply. I made over 18,000.00 Dollars interest profit when I quickly exercised my Options shares bought from the Company. Documents available to substantiate this claim.
Let me add that the acquisition of the St Jude Concession in Wassa Mphor by Golden Star Resources which metamorphosed into the concession of Wexford Ltd and finally the concession of Golden Star Wassa Mine Ltd was possible due to the live and let us live policy due to the peaceful atmosphere created that bolstered the share price of Golden Star Resources in both then New York Stock Market and the Toronto Stock Market and made enough capital or funds available for the company’s expansion bid (reason for the rise in the share price.
Furthermore, it was based on this Live and let us Live policy which was communicated in 2004 to the then Vice President of Ghana, His Excellency Aliu Mahama, with Hon Majeed Haruna (then Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources) in attendance in a meeting with the Management of the Company when he visited the Company in 2004 and was given on the coexistence policy of the Company including relocation of galamasey operators to then vacate concession area at Ayanfuri through the support of Geo Consult . This made him to declare in Prestea that Prestea is Galamasey and Galamasey is Prestea during his campaign to support the reelection of Presidential Candidate John Agyekum Kofour, this made the NPP to win both the Presidential election and the Prestea Constituency with huge votes.
Presidential Candidate John Mahama in 2012 was given the same brief on the coexistence policy of the Company when he visited Bogoso Mine, where even passed the night after his usual late campaigns, this made the NDC to win the Prestea seat with Hon Blay as MP. President Mahama’s regime blocked some areas in Ghana and reserved them for Small Scale Miners to apply for. It was the same policy which Dr Tony Aubyn and others used to persuade galamasey operators during the Presidential election campaign in 2020 in support of Presidential Candidate John Mahama and helped increase his votes.
The concept of Live and Let us Live was sold to Barrack Gold Mine in Tanzania by one of my former Bosses at Bogoso Mine as Group Loss Prevention Manager by name Mr Harry Ferrara who became a staff of this Company. When the late President John Magufuli of Tanzania (the bulldozer), in the heat of the campaign for his reelection as President of Tanzania had to go down on his knees to beg for the voting support of the over thousands Small Scale Miners (Galamasey Operators) in Tanzania in a scratch my back and I will scratch your back effort if and only if he was reelected as President of Tanzania by getting Barrack Gold Mine to cede part of her concession for Small Scale Mining. They voted massively for him and he won the election and he walked the talk, when he was reelected, by getting Barrack Gold Mine to coexist with the small scale miners.
Barack Gold Mining Company through the Live and Let us Live Policy did so with technical support to the Small Scale miners and had good control over them through off taker agreement between the Parties with Barrack Gold Mine agreed to buy the Gold produced by the Small Scale Miners at the world gold price of the day.
It is alleged by Electrochem Ghana Ltd, this has now allowed the Small Scale Miners to mine five times per year as against initially once in year and that was when they got rainwater in the past to fill the lagoon, with this kind gesture by the Company, so why the bone of contention is difficult to understand.
The Company indicated that it has constructed and will construct public places of convenient as and when required. Provision of water tanks, grading/rehabilitation of roads, provision of school blocks, AstroTurf, football fields, scholarship for brilliant but needy students to pursue their education are other support by the Company.
Seed capital of Ghc3million as revolving fund has been instituted for market women to expand their businesses. Report indicated that this support was/is doing wonders to the life of the affected persons.
The above demo massive benefits to be gained by the operations of the Company which include jobs and wealth creations by employment directly/indirectly and revenue to the State of Ghana by foreign exchange and Tax earnings respectively and the overall social impact to the State through social and national cohesion.
Mr Speaker and other Leaders of Parliament, the world is in transition from fossil energy to Clean Energy with zero or very low carbon emission. This has made Lithium to become a critical mineral in the energy transition. Thanks to God for the abundance of all sort of Minerals in Ghana including Lithium.
Sodium is obtainable from brine, saline or salt or seawater that provides salt or Sodium Chloride. From which Sodium can be extracted by electrolysis. Sodium is a sister of Lithium, both are Alkali metals with the ability to conduct electricity. So Sodium which is more abundant in the Sea water in the form of Sodium Chloride or Salt and associated with Lithium Salt as brine is complementing Lithium in the fight against carbon emission or the race for clean energy or power through Sodium-ion batteries and lithium-ion batteries for a lot of equipment and to power vehicles as Electric Vehicles (EVs) as well for energy storage grid.
Lithium-ion batteries is being vigorously promoted by the Chinese and USA. Sodium-ion batteries are being by China and some European Countries. Hence expect Clean Energy War in the power or Energy businesses. It is envisaged with advance technology, Sodium may soon replace Lithium due to in terms of sustainability since it is abundant in seawater, hence lower cost in extraction etc safety it is less inflammable, and other reasons of its chemical and physical properties since it reacts with Oxygen to produce Sodium Oxide for ceramics, glasses, fertilizer etc.
Right Hon Speaker and other Leadership, from the above narrations, it should be very clear to you that Electrochem Ghana Ltd in addition to her current production of Salt from Sodium, it has the potential to support the global energy market with the inputs for renewal or clean energy as part of the transition from fossil energy through the possible establishment of a Plant for the production of Sodium from salt as required for the production of Sodium-ion batteries and energy storage grid to compliment that of Lithium.
The Right Hon Speakers etc, there is the great possibility of Sodium replacing Lithium in the Clean Energy Supply chain since Sodium-batteries hold promising for long sustainability because the Sodium Resource as stated has massive availability character, available in the sea and rocks on land hence a potential for reduction of possible geopolitics risks, it is more environmentally friendly (non-flammable) than Lithium-ion Batteries.
Sodium-ion batteries are more environmental friendly as stated, since they are less reactive and non-flammable thus being safer than the alternatives especially Lithium-ion batteries at higher temperatures, since Sodium can be transported at zero volt making it safer than lithium which is not environmental friendly and must be stored with minimum charge hence prone to increasing fire risk.
Thus Sodium can withstand much heat exposure than Lithium and adaptable to other different uses. Sodium is abundant in the sea hence cheap to get and even to extract through electrolysis and for the production of Sodium-ion batteries, aluminum is used and this further makes Sodium-ion batteries to be cheaper than Lithium-ion batteries which require the use of copper and the price of copper is three times the price of aluminum.
Salt from Sodium is used in petroleum refinery to remove hydrogen sulphide. Salt of Sodium have over 100 uses including Sodium as coolant in nuclear reactors to cool the exhaust valves in internal combustible engines, as Sodium vapor lamps to light high ways and airports due to their high luminous efficacy. As stated above Salt of sodium is used to produce hydrogen, hydrogen peroxide as bleaching agent.
Further uses is for the manufacturing of plastic and other products like paper, glass, chlorine bleaching agent, rubber, detergent/soap, dyes, removing stains and grease, food preservative, seasoning to enhance flavor, health care to help a patient from becoming dehydrated to produce eye drops, prevent dehydration of a patient and other products. The above demo that Salt of Sodium is a principal or critical mineral for many industries with Global market requiring over 271 million metric tons of salt.
Right Hon Speaker, the bone of contention as stated is due to the mistaken belief by some of the people that PNDC LAW 287 which states the Songor Lagoon and adjoining lands are being held in trust for the owners reportedly as landowners, so they claimed that the government at no time acquired the Songor Lagoon and its adjoining lands compulsorily but rather holding in trust for they the rightful owners.
So the concluded that the lease granted to Electrochem has left over 100,000 people whose livelihood depend on the small scale mining of salt at the Lagoon in Limbo thus violates their human right. Implying the Live and Let us Live Policy has not been well embraced by the people.
The affected people need to be told in clear language that Section 6 of Article 257 of the 1992 Constitution is clear that all minerals are vested in the President in trust for and behalf of the nationwide citizens of Ghana. This is affirmed by Section 1 of the Minerals and Mining Law 2006(Act 703) enacted by Parliament. Both the Supreme law of Ghana and the legal regime thus PNDC 287 is null and void. To settle matters, the Leadership of Parliament to see to the withdrawal or the repeal of this obsolete law and communicate this to the people of Ada.
The McDan Group should also step up the Alternative Livelihood Projects to support the people with fish and mushroom farming, potato farming both on land and in sacks at homes, beekeeping, and snail/rabbit rearing. The Company should bolster their seasonal crop farming for sustainable livelihood. Tree or perennial Crops like Oil Palm, Avocado, Mango, cashew nut etc to be including as mix cropping for sustainable livelihood.
USAID can help at her cost with the concept of sustainability in mining (navigating from mining to other sustainable business or livelihood) if invited through the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Minerals Commission or EPA or Parliament through the Office of the Speaker. USAID is doing wonders with some small scale miners in Ivory Coast by helping them to navigate into avocado farming/beekeeping.
The Company should therefore court the support of USAID for Live and Let us Live Policy and thus making the affected people to appreciate that Electrochem Ghana Ltd is for them and the Ghanaian at large and the people of Ada are for Electrochem Ghana Ltd in a form of scratch my back and I will also scratch your back, that is a form of mutualism.
Electrochem, as Large Scale Mining Company should join the Ghana Chamber of Mines to enjoy support from the Ghana Chamber of Mines for the Chamber through sharing of experiences and for the possibility of the Secretariat of the Chamber supporting with the provision of an enhance education of the affected people who are against its progress, that is from a different perspective.
The Chamber could explain the constitutional provision and legal regime with regards to Minerals and Mining. The education, at the cost of Electrochem Ghana Ltd should include the organization of tours for the ringleaders and some of their associates to areas of some member Companies like Bogoso Mine which had similar issues with some of their beloved people in their catchment areas.
The Government must educate the people on the law on Small Scale Mining, enforce it, but support them by the introduction of Cooperative or Community Mining Concept with credible leaders which the Company and the State can deal with.
Mr Speaker and Hon Leaders you may wish to know a little more about the Commercial Production of Sodium. So it is by electrolysis by the passage of electric current, simply by using Downs’s cell to activate electrolytic reduction of molten Sodium Chloride to extract sodium metal that is when sodium chloride is exposed to an electric charge it decomposes into sodium metal and chlorine gas.
One liter of seawater contains an average of 11 grams of sodium ions and as stated Researchers indicated that Sodium batteries will soon replaces lithium batteries due to low cost in addition to being safer. It said that replacing lithium with sodium can reduce the cost by 30 percent and this 30 percent is reportedly great advantage because a price of a few percent may determine the life and death of an industry.
Respectfully submitted for a national duty to support Corporate Ghana.