The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemanu Koney, has reiterated that although mining is a finite resource, if managed properly, judiciously and efficiently, the country should be able to see sustainable development.
He said the resources from the mining industry could be used to create alternative businesses , which was doable.
“We believe that on the back of the industry, we should be able to do so much; improve our manufacturing base. It is very dear to our hearts because the industry then becomes a captive market for manufacturers of these inputs,” he stated at a two-day media workshop by the chamber in Accra.
He noted that if the manufacturers could produce at the right quality at competitive prices, adding,
“companies would not abandon what is in the country and bring it from offshore, because effectively by doing that, you are just creating jobs and value for people outside the country.”
“So, we are so aligned as a chamber of mines in this cause. How we can retain a lot more of the mineral revenue value stream within the country even as money is spent here, we are given ourselves competencies, skills training among others, so that we can enlarge our coast and possibly extend our wings into West Africa,” he explained.
Mr Koney said Ghana was seen as the leader about everything good in mining in West Africa and that the chamber would continue to receive and share knowledge with others from the sub-region.
He said the training was to share some highlights about the industry with the media and to find ways to engage them as partners towards sustainable mining in the context of effective use of mineral revenue for national development.
He disclosed that in the last few months, they had that deep collaboration between the chamber and the Minerals Commission (MC), which he described as very positive.
“If we work together, we should be able to showcase transparently some of the benefits that come into the country, not just in terms of revenue but also in value,” he added.
The Minerals Commission
It is generally responsible for the regulation and management of the utilisation of the mineral resources of Ghana and the co-ordination of the policies in relation to them, (Article 267 of the Constitution and Section 2(1) of Act 703).
However, it faces challenges in executing its mandate. These include illegal mining (resulting from unemployment, greed, indiscipline, lack of education, etc), lack of adequate resources to effectively monitor mining operations, delays in the process for ratification of mining leases and delays in licensing procedure due to staffing challenges and difficulty in accessing relevant information or records, especially in the small-scale mining sector.
The Head of Legal at the Commission, Mrs Irene Demanya, outlined some measures being made to address these challenges.
These are the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining and the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project with a main objective to sanitise the activities of illegal miners; the creation of satellites, districts and regional offices; employing and training of mine guards to help fight illegal miners and training programmes for staff.
“As a way forward, we seek an amendment of the mining laws to improve compliance, intensify public education and sensitisation on mining laws and regulations and intensify prosecution of illegal mining and other offences under the law,” she stated.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA), Mr Emmanuel Kuyole, recommended that any alternative being promoted should be attractive, incentivising and most importantly, be capable of pulling people away from illegal mining.
“Designing of alternative livelihood programmes should be consultative and inclusive and establish clear market linkages with mining companies and national markets,” he said.