ECOWAS Ministers, in-charge of Mineral Resource Development, are holding a meeting in Accra to consider the Draft ECOWAS Mineral Development Policy and its Implementation plan, put together by national experts.
The draft policy focuses on improvements of geological and mineral information, management of mineral revenues and local content policy of mineral operations.
Addressing the opening session, Mr Henry Ford Karmel, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, called for partnerships and an enabling environment to promote private sector led investment in the efficient development of the sub-region’s mineral resources.
He said the mineral development policy was very important to ensure the development of extractive industries resulting in the sustainable development of the sub-region.
Mr Karmel said the policy should therefore help to improve availability of geological and mineral information at the national and regional levels, optimise the value chain, especially the processing and value addition of the extracted minerals to derive maximum benefits and enhancement of effective environmental protection and strategic environmental assessment of mineral activities.
He expressed the hope that the thematic focus of the policy would help address the challenges facing the mineral sector of the various countries in the sub-region.
Alhaji Inusah Fuseni, Deputy Minister of Energy, said the implementation of the policy would contribute in turning the mineral sector into a dynamic leveraging tool for diversified economic growth and sustainable, integrated development of countries in the sub-region.
He called for the strengthening of regional inter-State cooperation at all levels to ensure a coordinated approach for the successful implementation of the policy.
The 62nd Session of ECOWAS Council of Ministers held in 2009 adopted, a regulation relating to the development and organisation of the Community’s mining sector, along with the ECOWAS Directive on the harmonisation of Guiding Principles and Policies in the Mining Sector.
In compliance with the Regulation’s requirement is for the ECOWAS Commission to set up a West African Mining Forum as a framework for periodic meetings and exchanges among stakeholders in the Mining Sector.
The October 2010 Ministerial meeting also adopted some recommendations, including those that called for the finalisation of the Draft ECOWAS Mineral Development Policy; establishment of a Permanent Forum (ECOMOF) to deal with matters affecting the Mineral Sector in the region; and the establishment of a uniform Regional Cadastre System interfaced with the National Systems.