Regulatory bodies have debunked claims that operations of a salt mining company, Seven Seas Salt Limited in Ketu South are illegal.
The Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the company had undergone the required processes and was granted permit to operate three concessions in the Municipality.
The disclosure was made when Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister led a delegation to meet with stakeholders in the Municipality in a bid to resolve agitations by some citizens, especially the youth.
The agitations follow the recent drowning of a mother and her three children in a pit dug in the Keta Lagoon at Laklevikope, the third such incident to occur in the Viepe-Tokor Electoral Area in two months.
The deaths provoked, especially the youth, who alleged the pits were as a result of the uncompleted dykes being constructed in the lagoon by the company and demanded from government a stop to the company’s expansion plans to communities outside its Adina concession.
Mr Victor Ayaku, Assembly member for Viepe-Tokor, said the area could not have been part of the company’s concession as there had not been any community engagement in the area.
But the Minerals Commission doubted the claim, saying series of community engagements were held as part of the processes with publications in the dailies, regarding the concessions and same in the gazette and that the community(ies) could have raised red flags then if they had issues.
Mr Steven Korshi Agbo, Assistant Manager, Social Scientist at the Minerals Commission, said the Commission had always had issues of “misconception, mistrust and entrenched position” in mining areas, which were not necessarily bad but feared entrenched positions hardly helped issues.
Mr Hope Smith Lomotey, Volta Regional Director, EPA, said Seven Seas Salt Limited had the permit to operate and that a concession meant a “restricted area” implying, residents should not have been allowed to go fishing there but the company was being liberal.
He appealed to community members in the company’s concession areas to be cautious when around the concessions and asked those who lacked swimming skills to keep away to protect lives.
Dr Letsa, the Regional Minister, who called for calm said though government sought to promote investments to raise revenue to provide the needs of people, they also had a duty to protect the communities.
“We won’t preside over illegality. We want investment but won’t allow loss of lives,” he said.
He called on residents to report anything untoward to authorities for redress while asking for circumspection during radio discussions on the matter so as not to incite the public against the company, which he believed had the potential to boost the local economy.
Mr Adams Mensah, Public Relations Officer, Seven Seas Salt Limited, said the company, the leading salt producer in Ghana, was willing to engage with the communities for acceptance and to see the prospects its presence held for the Municipality.