The Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) has it on record that the first discovery of iron ore in the country was made in 1929 in Shieni in the Northern Region before subsequent discoveries in the hills around Opon Valley and Mansi Valley in the Western Region in 1963.
Ever since, efforts to discover more iron ore have continued, with the result that iron ore in commercial quantities has been discovered at Akokrowa, a farming community in the Oti Region.
The chapter on Mining contained in ‘The Report: Ghana 2012’, among other issues, states that Ghana has iron ore with industrial significance, but the deposits are so far unexploited, primarily due to a shortage of developed infrastructure to transfer bulk minerals from deposits to ports.
Against this background, the Ghanaian Times sees it as a leap forward in GIISDEC allocation of 10 blocks of iron ore to selected investors to undertake geo-scientific studies, commonly known as Mineral Resource Estimation (MRE), which is a model used to make important financial and other decisions regarding mine planning.
It is a crucial step in mine development as it bridges the gap between mineral exploration and commodity production.
MRE involves assessing the tonnage, grade, and value of iron ore deposits, which underpins the conclusions investors would come to.
Without waiting to hear the decisions of the investors, the Ghanaian Times can express the hope that the conclusions would be favourable for exploitation of iron ore in the Oti Region to begin.
Our stance is premised on our own story posted online on December 15, 2021 in which the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) says the iron ore deposits discovered at Akokrowa are of the highest grade, and that the ore is graded 55.22 weight per cent (fu), a description the industry players understand.
Let us remind ourselves that 98 per cent of iron ore is used to make steel, a resource touted as the world’s most important engineering and construction material because of its importance in producing almost everything needed in our lives such as houses, cooking utensils and cars.
That means iron ore has hot demand and so the country stands to gain a lot if it prepares the infrastructure and the necessary policies to guide its exploitation.
In September last year, the GIISDEC reported that the country had six billion tonnes of iron ore and there was the potential to discover more, but added that the country’s bill for importing iron, steel and its articles stood at the dollar equivalent of GH¢2.9 bn.
Definitely, if the country exploits its iron ore and adds value to it, its bill for importation of iron, steel and related articles would reduce, thereby easing the pressure on foreign exchange reserves.
Besides, some jobs will be created and places where the deposits are such as Akokrowa will be expected to open up.
Unfortunately, mining communities in the country do not get the expected level of development and so visitors to those places find them the pale shadow of themselves.
The Ghanaian Times hopes the status quo would change henceforth so that the chiefs and people of Oti Region and others elsewhere would gleefully support companies exploiting minerals in the country.