Osagyefo Amanfo Edu, Omanhen of Mankessim, addressing the gathering
Osagyefo Amanfo Edu, Omanhen of Mankessim, addressing the gathering

Ensure fulfilment of agreements with communities - Chiefs to Atlantic Lithium committee

The chiefs and people in and around Atlantic Lithium's designated catchment area in the Mfantsiman Municipality of the Central Region have called for a monitoring committee to ensure that agreements made by Atlantic Lithium with communities are duly honoured after operations commence.

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The Omanhen of the Mankessim Traditional Area, Osagyefo Amanfo Edu VI, who made the call on behalf of the chiefs and communities in the company's catchment area, said the communities would want to avoid being short-changed when operations of the company begin, as has been the case of many mining communities in the country.

Hundreds of community members including 12 chiefs from the catchment communities and three paramount chiefs from the area turned out for the engagement at Krofu near Mankessim last Thursday.

During the open forum session, the tempers of some youth flared up as media personality Blessed Godsbrain Smart (Captain Smart) queried officials on measures to ensure appropriate compensation for locals, and that air, noise and environmental pollution were mitigated, almost causing chaos among the gathering.

Osagyefo Amanfo Edu said there was no need for agitations, stating that while the communities were happy with the environmental impact statement of the company so far, what was important was that the agreements captured in the statement would be adhered to and fulfilled.

Sustainable employment

He said the chiefs found it commendable that their proposal on the Lithium for Factories project that would ensure sustainable sources of employment for the residents in the communities had been duly captured in the environmental impact statement for attention.

The Omanhen of Nkusukum, Okese Essandoh, said he was hopeful the meetings and agreements with the chiefs and communities would ensure that the operations of the company were mutually beneficial.

Chiefs from other communities pledged to ensure that what was due the communities were fair.

The Deputy Director of Operations at the Environmental Protection Agency, Ransford Sakyi, said the EPA would work to ensure that the environmental impact of the company's activities was minimised to the barest.

"Definitely we cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg. All mining activities disturb the environment. The land form will be changed. There will be an impact on water quality, impact on land quality, there will be blasts which will generate vibration among many other things," he stated.

However, he said there was knowledge that could mitigate the impact and which had all been captured in the environmental impact statement for implementation. He said compensation and resettlement negotiation committees had already been put in place to ensure the communities were fairly treated, with several engagements and baseline data gathered and studied.

Mr Sakyi said there would also be a health impact assessment to document the health status of the communities that would guide work to prompt the company for redress if anything changed.

The Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Lithium, Keith Muller, said they intended to work shoulder to shoulder with their local communities, implementing industry-standard sustainable practices to ensure that the land was appropriately managed and rehabilitated to ensure benefits from the project continued long beyond the lifetime of the mine.

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