Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources on Tuesday announced plans by government to secure the services of an independent surveyor to verify the tonnages of manganese and bauxite shipped outside.
Currently, the Takoradi Port, where the minerals were shipped outside, did not have an independent conveyor surveyor but relied on assessment reports from the Cargo Owners, Ship Owners Association Independent Survey Report and the Bill of Ladens issued by the captain of the ship that will convey the commodity to the final destination.
This, the Minister, believed was not good enough for government to independently ascertain the correct figures or accurate tonnages exported by the Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) and the Ghana Bauxite Company (GBC).
On August 5, this year, the Sector Minister ordered the shutdown of the Ghana Manganese Company for alleged financial and operational breaches following the outcome of a Financial and Technical Audit undertaken by the Ministry.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh made this known during a working visit to the Takoradi Port, in the Western Region on Tuesday, to see at first-hand how the minerals are loaded onto cargo vessels.
The Minister was accompanied by Mr Addae Antwi Boasiako, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission and Mr Kofi Agyei, the Chief Inspector of Mines as well as some selected journalists.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said Cabinet earlier this year set the cap on the export of manganese at five million metric tonnes in order to safeguard the exploitation of the commodity.
Additionally, it would enable the nation to retain significant quantities of the commodity for local industries that are being set up to process the commodity locally, in consonance with the government’s industrialization agenda.
According to statistics presented by Mr Robert Opoku, Traffic Officer at the Takoradi Port, in charge of Monitoring, on export of manganese and bauxite from January to September, this year, showed that a total of 4,960,654 metric tonnes of manganese and 798,299 metric tonnes of bauxite had been shipped.
Per the statistics, it implied that the GMC has less than 40,000 metric tonnes of manganese to export this year.
The Sector Minister noted that the quantities of manganese shipped as at the third quarter of the year represented 81 per cent, compared to last year’s figure of 71 per cent for the entire year.
The GMC announced plans to export 7.5 million metric tonnes of manganese this year, but the government kicked against the move and capped the figure to five million metric tonnes.
Meanwhile, Captain James R. Quayson, the Takoradi Port Harbour Master was not happy with the capping of manganese since it would negatively affect the cargo traffic of the port and eventually reduce its revenue generation.
He said export of manganese and bauxite constituted about 80 per cent of the total export of the Port.
Takoradi Port was constructed by the British Colonial Administration in 1928 as the hub for the export of minerals and major commodities.
The Port is currently undergoing major expansion works to accommodate bigger vessels and enhance its export capacity.
The Minister and his entourage visited the temporary dumping site for manganese, the Manganese Wharf, and the New Bulk Jetty, as well as a 45-minutes cruise offshore to the Gdsanxk Vessel.
The team also inspected a site secured by the Ministry at Apemanim in the Ahanta West District for the construction of a weigh bridge.