Our Conditions Are Now Better …Songor Salt Workers Laud Electrochem Gh.

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Workers who have been employed currently by Electrochem Ghana Limited on the Songor Salt Project have described their current condition as “better” as compared to what it were previously.

Electrochem Ghana Limited which is developing the Ada Songor lagoon has within the first six (6) weeks of its presence in the country, doubled the workforce of the existing workers on the project.
The Company which has retained all existing workers of about 300 is currently executing existing mining activities; mining in the existing pans whilst working on prototypes of the new pans it intends to build for the entire project.
The Company has decided to retain all the staff including contract miners, existing staff and supporting staff of who were working before the arrival of Electrochem Gh. because of its responsibility to create ready jobs for the community people.
The Songor Lagoon which has a capacity of producing about 2 million metric tonnes of salt per annum has declined massively in production to about 200,000 metric tonnes annually.
Interestingly, the project is collapsing gradually with the ponds turning into mud pits as the then 20 pans being mined have now declined to just six (6).
A tour to the project site revealed that the 14 pans currently have become mud pits whilst the remaining 6 have components of mud in some portions which affect the quality of salt that are mined in those pans.
Speaking to some employees at the site they indicated that working conditions as well as payment structure under Electrochem Gh. Limited have been the best as compared to what they experienced in the past.
They mentioned that, the Songor Salt project was at the verge of collapse; a situation that has adversely affected their livelihoods.
An employee, Awayo explained that he started working there im1992 but lost his job in 2004 when the project collapsed.
He returned to site and got employed by Electrochem.
The workers averred that working conditions as well as payment structure under Electrochem Gh. Limited have been the best.
They called on other miners and residents of Ada to support the project and lend their support to Electrochem Gh to turn things around for them for the better.
In an interview with David Cameron, General Manager of Electrochem Gh. Limited, he indicated that the Company although has doubled the already existing workforce within the first six weeks in the area, it is going to employ more than 4000 indigenes who are going to be fully employed and paid.
He also indicated that the Company will employ all modern and appropriate technologies to ensure that the Songor rises again and produces to its maximum capacity.
“We are aiming to be one of the best in the world. It’s been three months now since Electrochem Ghana Ltd. started work on the Songor Lagoon. We have substantially in equipment, trucks, wheel loaders, rollers, trailers, excavators and others to ensure we achieve the best,” he said.
He also averred that developments in the ponds have also started whilst minor roads through the site are also being constructed to facilitate easy movement of vehicles and trucks.
David Cameron also noted that Electrochem Gh. is ready to construct roads, build schools and hospitals and make pans for surrounding villages as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
The Company has even commenced construction works on Community pans for residents around the Songor lagoon to make residents part of the project.
David Cameron believes that the community pans will make residents feel part of the project and also benefit from the project.
“We don’t want to leave anybody out. That is why we are constructing the pans for the community for them to also own the project and make a living,” he said.
The 12 pans will serve Nakomkorpe and its surrounding communities and will serve as the “Agbakpe” which is a portion from which those communities will win their salt.
These community pans when completed will stretch across the length and breadth of the Songor lagoon for the ‘atsiakpo’ making communities.
“A lot of investment has been made into this project but we will make sure we finish with the community pans before beginning our project itself,” he averred.
He said, “So far so good. We haven’t started anything yet, but from what we are doing with the existing pans and the construction of the prototypes that we will roll out through the entire project, I believe there is hope for Songor.”
The company, according to its General Manager will be constructing 200 pans for the entire project.
The Songor Salt Project started in 1992 with the PNDC Law 287 which abrogated the lease granted to the then Vacuum Salt Products.
The project, after the abrogation became a whole government entity when there was struggle for ownership between the surrounding villages and Vacuum Salt Products Ltd.
Parliament recently granted the lease agreement for the development of the Lagoon to Electrochem Gh. Limited which is given the project for 15 years period when the Ada Traditional Authority including Chiefs appealed to government to release the Lagoon for development.

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