The government revealed that mining companies operating in the country have purchased 73 percent of their goods and services locally. This is contrary to the erroneous perception that the companies procure few goods within the country.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu disclosed this in a speech read for him by his Deputy, Madam Barbara Oteng-Gyasi at the opening of this Ghana Mining & Energy Summit underway in Accra.
He said: “I have been informed that with respect to performance on true local procurement in 2015, the mining industry achieved about 73% of its planned local purchases per the local content regulations”.
“I believe that the industry will do well to achieve 100% of its planned local purchases in the coming years”, Mr Amewu urged.
The local content regulations of the mining sector require mining companies to source a list of items from local vendors.
He added that the mining sector, in 2015 contributed about 14.4% of government revenue and 34% in terms of total merchandise exports and produced about 3.6 million ounces of gold which resulted in export revenue of about US$3.3 billion.
“Also the same year mining companies repatriated about 72% of foreign exchange into the economy”.
“These achievements are indeed significant and government commends the contribution of mining companies in the country for achieving this success”, Mr Amewu lauded.
Focus on value addition
The government believes that in addition to the fiscal benefits derived from mining, the sector’s contribution will be best maximized when we focus on value addition and integrate local content into the mineral value chain structure, he told senior mining executives at the well-attended three-day summit.
The minister noted: “The local content and value creation in the economy, requires a concerted effort on the part of both government and industry to promote local businesses at all levels of the value chain. This is the main mechanism for expanding indirect employment in the mining sector”.
Investment in the Mining Sector
According to Mr Amewu, the continuous relevance of the mining sector to the economy depends largely on the inflow of investments for both fresh and brownfield exploration.
The industry was faced with difficulties, notable among them being the unstable commodity prices and the energy crisis which ebbed in 2016.
This led to the underperformance and downsizing of operations of mining companies in the country.
However, he emphasised: “With a fairly stable commodity prices in the world market for gold, some resilient mining companies have started to explore opportunities to reinvest in the country”.
“As partners in sustainable development, the government is committed to cooperate with the mining companies to come up with cost-cutting innovations and modern technology to boost investment in the sector”.
Mr Amewu assured that the government would continue to support the efforts of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the mining industry as a whole to stimulate new investment and exploration opportunities for investors, miners and financiers.
The government said it is aware that the proportion of the total mineral royalty, which goes directly to the mining communities is woefully inadequate for the stimulation of meaningful infrastructural development in the mining communities.
The recent passage of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) Act by Parliament is expected to provide the financial resources to transform the mining communities.
The Ministry has initiated the necessary process to implement the MDF Act and the relevant stakeholders will be brought on board as the process commence fully. He therefore called on the Ghana Chamber of Mines to support the implementation of the law to realize its objectives.
Gov’t policy objectives
It is time to look beyond what the industry has achieved in terms of fiscal benefits to the economy. An accelerated economic development in Ghana will not be possible without the minerals and mining industries being integrated into the rest of the other sectors of the economy.
In addition to the existing policies, the government, Mr Amewu stressed would pursue policy objectives for the mining sector to achieve the needed growth and development.
These policy objectives he mentioned include: manage mineral revenues efficiently for the benefit of Ghanaians; enactment of a consolidated Mineral Revenue Management Law, similar to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011 (Act 815), to guide the use of mineral revenues in strategic sectors of our economy;
regularize the small scale mining sector; mainstream critical strategic mineral feedstock into the domestic economy, including low value minerals, to support economic value addition; encouraging the development of shared infrastructure to integrate Mining with community development; and promoting mining value-addition through the processing of Minerals.
These policy objective will be implemented to project the mining sector to its desired ladder in terms of job creation and socio-economic growth of the people, Mr Amewu stressed.
Touching on small scale mining, he observed: “The small scale mining sector has the potential to contribute to livelihood empowerment and poverty alleviation of our local people”.
“However, in recent times, we have all witness the unprecedented destructions to our water bodies and environment through activities of illegal mining”, added.
“We believe that the sector needs to be restructured and regularized to benefit the local people and the entire nation”.
In view of this, the government is determined to stop the activities of illegal mining in the country and this is being witness by the nationwide campaign in various forms against illegal mining.
The Ministry is tackling the illegal mining menace (galamsey) through a Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).
The MMIP combines Legislations Enforcement and Civil Integrated and Technological Approach (LECITA) model using Multilateral Mining Integrated Project.
The objective of the project is to strengthen the socio-economic capacity of mining communities, promote and support sustainable mining practices, improve environmental conditions in mining communities, among others.
The Ministry will at the appropriate time unveil a comprehensive policy document on the MMIP, he revealed.
Mr Amewu used the opportunity to thank the media for their relentless support to the fight against illegal small scale mining in the country.
The President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines Kwame Addo Kufuor applauded the sector minister, Mr Amewu, for his determined campaign against illegal mining and to reform the sector as a whole.
“We also wish to commend the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,for the holistic and intersectoral approach being taken by government and including the critical issue of alternative livelihood opportunities for those impacted in the discussion”, he added.
“We also wish to congratulate the Media Coalition and Illegal Mining, civil society, religious bodies and other stakeholders who have contributed to this important debate”.
Mr Kufuor stated that; ” the members of the Chamber and are committed to mining safely, responsibly and to submitting to the guidance and authority of our regulators – the Sector Ministry, Minerals Commission, EPA , Forestry Commission, Water Resources Commission etc”.
“Within the Chamber itself we monitor and observe the compliance and performance of our members. It is for this reason that we in 2015 set up the annual Ghana Mining Awards to recognize and reward excellence in safe, environmentally compliant, innovative, sustainable mining practice”.
This Annual event has proven to be a success and has further improved standards in the industry as members try to outperform each other in these areas, he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney said through the production and procurement of local inputs, the mining industry could catalyze growth and development of local manufacturing in the country.
“Another area of concern is the continued competitiveness of Ghana as a mining investment destination. The fact that Ghana is a major mining investment hub is not in doubt given that it hosts some of the blue chip mining brands in the world”.
As a result Ghana benefits from the leading practices in mining through the application of best available technologies, skill transfers and corporate social investments that enhance the livelihoods of the host communities, according to him.
To ensure that the country continues to harness these benefits sustainably, Ghana has to continually evaluate its competitiveness in order to attract the requisite investment both at the exploration and mining phases, Mr Koney added.
“As a Chamber, we will continue to demonstrate a clear ambition to continue to transform mining into one whose activities have a greater bearing on the mainstream economic activities of the country and which positively impacts the lives of our people”, he reiterated.
Sustaining business development, according to the Chamber CEO requires persistence and commitment on the part of the private sector and state institutions mandated to stimulate growth.
“We cannot underestimate the importance of our collaborative efforts in reinforcing Ghana’s position as the hub for mining and energy excellence in West Africa”, Mr stated.
“We have the expertise and the track record to ensure that the value of mining to every fabric of life is greater today than it was yesterday”.
Ghana is richly endowed with mineral resources, with gold accounting for about 95 % of total mineral production of the country. The country is the second largest producer of gold on the continent after South Africa.
Source: African Eye Report