“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall, by or under an Act of Parliament, provide for the establishment, within six months after Parlia- ment first meets after the coming into force of this Constitution, of a Minerals Commission, a Forestry Commission, Fisheries Commission and such other Commissions as Parliament may determine, which shall be responsible for the regulation
and management of the utilization of the natural resources ...”
Mr Speaker, the Commission is not the one charged with the remit of developing the resources. In this case, it would be the Development Corporation that would take charge of that. The Commission's respon- sibility is to regulate and manage the utilisation.
Mr Speaker, for instance, if it is intended to extract about 10 million metric tonnes a year, the Commission would step in to say that that cannot be done because the resource is not only for the generations of today, but for posterity, so perhaps, we would limit it to about one million a year. Mr Speaker, that is managing the utilisation of the natural resource, so there is no conflict whatsoever.
Mr Speaker, the other issue that should concern us is the tariff structure and the level of the tariff. We should be concerned because, indeed, if commercial rates are applied, then ab initio, the enterprise would be rendered dysfunctional. So, we would need to really look at how to manage the system such that we would be able to offload sufficient quantities of power to them at affordable rates.
Mr Speaker, now there is some talk about dedicating a generating plant for that enterprise and some people have asked if we could dedicate Bui Dam, or perhaps, to build another dam on the River Oti
and dedicate it solely for the iron and steel enterprise.
Again, there is talk about having a solar farm to feed the industry -- Mr Speaker, there are options that Government, and indeed, the Development Corporation would be weighing.
I agree with my Hon Colleague, Mr Agbodza, who asked about the quantities we are talking about as of yet.
Mr Speaker, earlier, the discoveries indicated that the quantities at Oppong Mansi were supposed to be the epicentre of iron ore.
Now, with the new assessment, there are huger quantities at Sheini than Oppong Mansi, except to say that on the average, the quality of the Oppong Manso reserve is a bit higher than what obtains at Sheini. The lowest at Sheini is about 37 to 39 per cent, but there are areas at Sheini where the ore content goes as high as 57 to 59 per cent. What it means is that, on the average, the one at Sheini would be in the region of about 45 per cent whereas the one at Oppong Mansi is between 42 and 45 per cent. So, either way, we are home and dry.
Mr Speaker, the third discovery, which is Pudo in Upper West Region, is also significant. I am told that after the initial assessment, it is in the region of about 200,000,000 metric tonnes, but we have not finished the
assessment of the Sheini discovery, because it is seen that the Sheini strings Togo. What has been assessed now is about 1.7 billion metric tonnes for Sheini alone. What it means is that, if that string leading to Togo is assessed, it certainly would be in the region of more than 2.5 billion metric tonnes. That is for the Sheini one alone.
Mr Speaker, we should be encouraged by this. We are informed that with the three put together, as assessed, as of today, if we are to construct a rail track with it, even a single lane could go round the earth 40 times. That is huge.
As far as I am concerned, it gives this economy another beginning, and we should determine, as a House, that the connected factories should be established up north. At least, one each at Sheini and at Pudo, and we can have one in Oppong Mansi. So, we would have three factories doing the same job at the same time. Mr Speaker, indeed, that could be a very bold lift.
Mr Speaker, it would certainly give the economy of the north a big boost, and we must commend the boldness of this Government to really stick its neck out. I know there are continuous assessments of the quality of the ore still going on.
Mr Speaker, there is a particular individual in this country who should also be commended tremendously. His group is Emmaland Resources Limited. He was the first person on
his own to have flown over the Sheini enclave. It had not been done before, and he led this effort in the discovery that this country has now come out with.
Mr Speaker, I also agree with the Hon Minority Leader that the mandate of the Corporation should be better defined for us to know that they do not veer off course, and that they commit themselves totally to the harnessing of the reserve. However it must be done, we would determine it ourselves.
Of course, Government, through the Hon Minister for Land and Natural Resources, would have their own position. If we have to put our heads together to enrich whatever they bring, which would inure to the benefits of the country, it would be all well and good for us as a country. That, in my view, is how we should look at this Bill.
Today, I am happy that this Bill has surfaced in this House. We are doing the Second Reading. I am looking forward to beginning the Con- sideration hopefully on Monday or latest by Tuesday. I am told by the Hon Ranking Member that they would require further engagement of some other stakeholders. We would wait for them, but they should also understand that time is not on our side.
This House is adjourning on 12th April, 2019, possibly, and we cannot go beyond that. If we cannot go beyond that, we should complete the passage of this all-important Bill before we adjourn sine die.