Chamber of Mines charge to transform mining industry

Koforidua- The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Kwakye Dafuor, has charged the Chamber of Mines to up their role to transform the mining industry for mining communities to benefit from the resources.

He said the history of mining in Ghana dates back to the early 1950s, yet the impact of mining had not been felt by Ghanaians citing the state of Obuasi, Akwatia and Prestea as a clear indication that as a people we have not derived enough from mining.

The Regional Minister lamented the wanton destruction of water bodies, forests and the environment by mining activities rendering the communities with the resources poorer, adding this is unacceptable and that is why the chamber of mines must up their game to change the perception.

The Minister who spoke passionately when a delegation from the Chamber of Mines paid a courtesy call on him in Koforidua, noted that the current trend where mining was benefiting just a few in society, must be disallowed to change the perception of Ghanaians on mining.

He made it clear that illegal mining known as galamsey had worsen despite the campaign and added that the future population of Ghana was being endangered with the destruction from mining activities and the Chamber of Mines must rise up to that challenge.

However, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemanu Koney, was of the view that despite the challenges, the mining industry had been the leading contributor to Ghana’s economy over the years.

He said the mining sector continued to be the leading source of export earnings stating for instance that in 2016 exports of minerals accounted for 46 per cent of gross merchandize exports, adding that member companies of the chamber had returned an average of 2.4 billion dollars of their minerals revenue in terms of taxes and royalties revenue since 2009.

Whiles agreeing on the views of the Minister that the people of Ghana had not derived enough from the mining industry, he said the implementation of the Minerals Development Fund remained critical to the needed transformation.

He explained that the Minerals Development Fund was meant to enable communities and the good people of Ghana to derive optimal benefits from the mining industry and it’s worrying that two years down the lane since it was passed, structure of implementation has not been set up.

The Mining Chamber Boss therefore appealed to the Minister who is also a Parliamentarian to use his good offices to ensure that the Fund became a reality for optimum benefit of all Ghanaians.

He also indicated the need for the informal face like the small scale mining and the galamsey to be regulated just as the listed companies of the Chamber to ensure that all facets of mining was according to standard practice for the benefit of the communities.

Ms Ama Bawuah, Senior Director of Government Relations for Newmont Gold Africa, said the mining industry had paid about 900,000 dollars in taxes in the last 10 years in Ghana and therefore remains a critical component in the economy of Ghana.

She said the mining industry was poised to complement government in bringing development to its people but could not take up the entire responsibility of government mentioning road construction and other capital intensive developmental projects.

Source: Ghana News Agency