Graphic Business News

Zambia delegation calls on Minerals Commission, PMMC

By: Kester Korankye
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The Zambian delegation in a group photograph with officials of the PMMC.

A delegation from the Republic of Zambia has called on the Minerals Commission and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) to learn lessons on how the country has managed its mining sector.

The delegation, which was led by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development in Zambia, Mr Barnaby B. Mulenga, also plans to visit some of the country’s mining communities to get firsthand information from authorities in those communities.

Speaking to the media, Mr Mulenga said the purpose of their visit to Ghana was to appreciate the mining sector of the country.

“We have heard a lot of positive stories about Ghana and its involvement in gold. We have recently discovered gold in Zambia and we therefore felt like coming to the ones who have been doing it for a long time.

“We have challenges to do with the small scale and artisanal sector and we felt we could learn lessons from Ghana in terms of how Ghana has been able to handle this particular sector,” he stated.

Commenting on some of the lessons they will be taking back to Zambia, he said the organisation of the Minerals Commission was something they would like to replicate in Zambia.

“The kind of arrangement where you have a regulator independent of the ministry is a good take away.

“Secondly, Ghana has developed very useful regulations to deal with the mining sector. Some of the things we heard surprised us because these are some of the things we have planning to do so to find that other people have already done that and even trying to review them and improve them was a serious take away for us,” he noted.

He said this peer to peer learning was very useful and they will therefore build on the south to south cooperation with Ghana to see how they can learn a lot more lessons.

“Ghanaians can also come to Gambia to see how we are handling our mining sector,” he said.

Small scale mining
Explaining the importance of small scale mining sector to the delegation, the Principal Officer of the Small Scale Mining Department of the Minerals Commission, Mr Eric Bukari, said the small scale mining sector contributed 30 per cent of the total gold production of the country.

“Small scale mining activities have increased in Ghana. When you take the data from 1989 to today, it tells you that small scale mining is contributing not less than 30 per cent of national gold production so they are very important to our sector,” he stated.

He said the Commission had therefore put in place a number of measures to support this sector.

“We are creating a plant pool where small scale miners can have easy access of equipment for operation and the sources of funds are actually local investors.

“Small scale mining in itself is limited to locals so the investors that will go in there will also be local. We also have plans to have a broad stakeholder oversight responsibility on the sector,” he pointed out.

Total gold production
A Deputy Director at the PMMC, Mr Vanance Dey, also informed the delegation about the role of the PMMC in the country’s mining industry.

“PMMC is an agency under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources which is charged with the marketing the country’s gold and diamond. We are also involved in the value addition of these minerals,” he noted.

He indicated that, in 2018 the country’s total gold exports stood at 106,331 kg valued at about US$4.2 billion.

For rough diamonds, he said the total export for 2019 was 33,789.19 karats valued at US$836,109 dollars.

He said the country’s total diamond exports for 2019 was low due to the inability of one company who was given the funds to go ahead to do the production but failed to do it.