The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu said an accelerated economic development is possible when the minerals and mining industries are integrated into the other sectors of the economy.
He said aside the fiscal benefits derived from mining, the sector’s contribution would be best maximised when there was the focus on value addition and integration of local content into the mineral value chain structure.
“This is the main mechanism for expanding indirect employment in the mining sector,” he said.
Mr Amewu was speaking at the opening session of the Ghana Mining and Energy Summit 2017 in Accra on the theme: “Sustaining business growth through innovation in a challenging Energy and Mining environment.”
He said the continuous relevance of the mining sector to the economy depended largely on the inflow of investments for both fresh and brownfield exploration and pledged to work with the Chamber and the mining industry as a whole to stimulate new investment and exploration opportunities for investors, miners and financiers.
“As partners in sustainable development, the government is committed to co-operate with the mining companies to come up with cost-cutting innovations and modern technology to boost investment in the sector,” he said.
Touching on royalty, the Minister said the government was aware that the proportion of the total mineral royalty, which went directly to the mining communities, was woefully inadequate for the stimulation of meaningful infrastructural development in the mining communities.
He said the Ministry had initiated the process to implement the Minerals Development Fund Act by Parliament to provide the financial resources to transform the mining communities and called on the Chamber to support the implementation of the law to realize its objectives.
On illegal mining and small-scale mining, the Minister said while the small scale mining sector had the potential to contribute to livelihood empowerment and poverty alleviation of the local people, the unprecedented destructions to water bodies and environment through activities of illegal mining called for another look at the sector.
He said government believed that the sector needed to be restructured and regularised to benefit the local people and the entire nation.
He said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was tackling the illegal mining menace (galamsey) through a Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).
The MMIP combines Legislations Enforcement and Civil Integrated and Technological Approach (LECITA) model using Multilateral Mining Integrated Project.
The objectives of the project is to strengthen the socio-economic capacity of mining communities, promote and support sustainable mining practices, improve environmental conditions in mining communities, among others.
Mr Sulemanu Koney, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, said the Summit had been rebranded with focus on mining and the key forms of energy used in the mining industry – Power and Diesel.
He said the mining industry was energy intensive and therefore an efficient and cost effective energy sector would rub off positively on the mining industry.
He said to ensure that the country continued to harness the benefits of mining sustainably, Ghana had to evaluate its competitiveness in order to attract the requisite investment both at the exploration and mining phases.
He said the operations of the Chamber’s producing member companies were designed to have minimal impact on the environment through strict monitoring and controls by the companies, regulators as well as third party audits ensure that this was achieved.
Mr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, applauded the Minister, for his determined campaign against illegal mining and to reform the sector as a whole.
He also commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for the holistic and intersectoral approach being taken by Government and including the critical issue of alternative livelihood opportunities for those impacted in the discussion.
The conference will connect mining and energy companies with investors, suppliers and government officials to explore the vast opportunities in the country.
It will also help stakeholders and industry players to learn more about the changing mining and energy landscape in Ghana as well as the opportunities they offer.