He said annual non-injury incidents in the mining industry also declined by 300 basis points between 2013 and 2014.
Mr Koney said this, in a speech read on his behalf at the Zone-One Inter-Mines Safety and First Aid Competition, organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, and Perseus Mining Limited at Ayanfuri in the Central Region.
The event on the theme: “Safety All the Way” was attended by the Golden Star Wassa Limited, AngloGold Ashanti, Iduapriem Ltd Tarkwa, Gold Star Bogoso Prestea Limited, and Perseus Mining Ghana Limited.
It was to showcase the mining industry’s awareness and preparedness to mitigate safety and health impacts in the mines and mining communities and to disseminate knowledge on Health, Safety and First aid to residents in mining communities.
Mr Koney said a safe and healthy workplace would increase productivity, contribute towards sustainable development, and create a positive image for the company and the sector.
He noted that safety was not only about saving lives after accidents but about preventing accidents that endangered the lives of mine workers.
On the challenges, he said the mining industry was currently under pressure from unstable gold price on the world market, explaining that since august 2014 the industry had been challenged by the load shedding exercise.
“The unplanned load-shedding has resulted in materials solidifying in the process plants, causing damage to sensitive equipment on the mines, especially the processing plants” he stated.
He recalled that the Ghana Chamber of Mines contributed GH₵100,000 worth of medical items to the victims of the June 3 fire and flood disaster.
Mr Koney pointed out that the mining sector continues to be a leading contributor of fiscal revenue to the State, announcing that in 2014 the sector contributed GH₵1.24 billion to the national kitty through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), representing 16.2 per cent of total direct tax.
He said the fiscal proceeds mobilised by the GRA from the mining sector comprised GH₵454.5 million in corporate taxes, 470.3 million Cedis on royalties and GH₵312.6 on PAYE.
Mr Koney said data from the Bank of Ghana indicated that the share of mineral exports in total merchandise exports reduced to 34 per cent as compared to 37 per cent in the previous year, and this outcome, he noted, stemmed mainly from the price of gold on the world market.
Mr Brent Horochuk, the General Manager of Perseus Mining Company Limited, gave the assurance that Perseus Mines would continue to operate in a safe and responsible manner consistent with its value of demonstrating leadership in safety, and stewardship of the environment and social responsibility.
Nana Brah, the Chief of Nkonya, who presided over the programme, expressed hope that the training would better equip the miners to protect themselves against disaster and also to give safety and first aid to accident victims.