The Efutu Traditional Council has asked the Minerals Commission not to issue mineral right license to any company to mine lithium at Muni-Pomaze Ramsar Site.
The Council says the area which hosts special plants and animal species, represents the identity of the Effutu state and has socio-cultural heritage significance to the chiefs and people of the area.
The site absorbs the shock of storm surges, provides water, soaks up rain, reduces flooding and delays the onset of droughts. It plays a critical role in climate adaptation and resilience.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Neenyi Ghartey VII, the Paramount Chief of Efutu Traditional Area said all processes regarding the proposed mining project must be discontinued.
He cautioned that the Effutu Traditional Council would seek redress at the appropriate forum should the application be processed and a license granted for mining at the Ramser site.
The Council has petitioned the District Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to register its displeasure against granting mineral application right by the Minerals Commission.
Neenyi Ghartey VII was reacting to a gazette published by the Minerals Commission in accordance with regulations 10(3), 94(3), 177(3), 207(3) of the Minerals and Mining (Licensing) Regulations, 2012 (LI 2176).
The gazette dated May 19, 2022 request a land owner or lawful occupier who is likely to be affected by the grant of the mineral right to submit a written statement of that land owner's or occupier's interest to the Minerals Commission through the respective Assembly within 21 days from the date of publication of the Gazette.
The Paramount Chief said the proposed area played a crucial role in the long-held famous traditional Aboakyeri, a significant festival on the African continent and the world.
“If this application should succeed, it will deprive the indigenous people of Effutu and its environs their livelihood since it will have a negative impact on the Muni Lagoon and the Ramsar Site at large,” he noted.
Neenyi Ghartey VII said the lower portions of the proposed site also extends into El 63; an area purposefully set aside by the government for the development of a tourism resort.
“The Effutu State is aware of the long-standing idea of an interest in the minerals in the hills forming the boundary with the Gomoa areas… It is uneconomical because of the trace quantities of the minerals in there. The benefits and costs to the environment and society are unproportionally against the proposal,” he said.
Information gathered by the GNA indicates that the Green Resources Ltd, the company applying for the license to mine is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Ltd, formally IronRidge Resources Ltd, but changed name in 2021.
It is headquartered in Australia.
An Environmental Scientist told GNA the livelihood of about 10 communities whose main occupation was fishing and farming depended on the Muni-Pomaze Ramsar Site.
He said oral tradition indicates that the people of Effutu first settled around the Muni-Pomaze before dispersing to the current township.
The area, originally called ‘Kweku Boni’, but later westernized to Muni-Pomaze, also helped the Effutu people during the civil war to conquer their attackers by drowning them.