The minister for Trade and Industry Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond has said, the Electrochem’s Salt Mining Industry which has been commissioned by the President H:E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo -Addo has the potential to transform the entire ecosystem as well as the economy.
The plant, which is already in operation and producing at 99.99 per cent purity, has become the biggest in Africa, larger in acreage than the Walvis Bay of Namibia, which is about 16,700 acres hitherto known to be the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Production is expected to ramp up to around two million tonnes per annum by 2027 and the number of employees is also expected to increase to 7,000 with the completion of the second phase.
To obtain a social licence to operate the salt mine which has been the subject of rancor and litigation for decades, Electrochem has provided communities in the catchment area with facilities and amenities including an Astro turf football field, roads, and advanced GH¢3 million interest-free loans to traders and businesses. Electrochem has also provided scholarships, health clinics, schools, and potable water for the communities.
The Minister, who accompanied the President to the event, noted that the huge regional and global demand of salt for industrial uses as well as human and animal consumption makes it a highly strategic resource which requires significant investments to harness in a commercially viable but environmentally and socially sustainable way.
According to him, the private sector has over the years shown investment interest in salt mining and processing, but these companies are either defunct or currently non-operational due to difficulties encountered at each stage of implementation. He stated that the commissioning also marks a major transition into large scale salt mining and processing to enable Ghana begin to realize its rightful place as a major salt producer.
The Minister was however elated that ElectroChem, after experiencing some challenges and setbacks in operations within the area, has managed to invest $88 million in this state-of the-art salt washing plant and its ancillary infrastructure and facilities. “Progress has been relatively fast considering that the ElectroChem industrial site, which was completed in February this year, took you just two years to construct” he said.
He took the opportunity to appeal to the chiefs and opinion leaders as well as the youth to adopt the project and support it as an important launchpad into the modernization of salt mining and processing in Ghana adding that this will be most beneficial in terms of attracting allied industries which require salt as the basic raw material, to invest, locate and create the much needed jobs in this area.
Electrochem Ghana Limited, the operators of the salt mine, are a subsidiary of the McDan Group of Companies and a wholly Ghanaian owned company registered in 2017. It is strategically positioned to leverage over two decades of expertise and resources to invest in and maximize returns from the salt and chemical industries.
The Company has secured a concession of 41,000 acres at Ada Songor to produce 1,000,000 metric tons of salt per annum to supply to local and export markets. In the medium term, the output will be increased substantially and part of it used to feed a chlor-alkali plant to produce caustic soda and other chemical products.