Government will shift focus on fiscal returns in the mining industry to promoting local content and participation, value addition, and resource-based industrialization, Mr George Mireku Duker, Deputy Minister-Designate for Lands and Natural Resources, has said.
Speaking at the opening of the West Africa Mining and Power Conference Digital Series, Mr Duker said the move was to ensure the integration of the natural resources industry to other sectors of the economy to provide broad-based socio-economic development.
“This is the surest way we can expand opportunities in the sector to create the needed jobs and development of the people,” he said.
Over the years, the government’s attention on the mining sector had focused on fiscal receipts with less emphasis on integration and linkages development of the rest of the economy, he said.
He said the government would pursue specific policies and initiatives to develop the mining sector and sustain the country’s position as a gateway to mining in the sub-region.
Ghana is endowed with abundant natural resources with major minerals mined in commercial quantities Gold, Diamond, Bauxite and Manganese.
Gold accounts for 95 per cent of minerals production. The country is also endowed with unexploited deposits of iron ore, limestones, and clay, among the others.
The mining sector accounts for about 27 per cent of government revenue, contributing significantly to export revenue, employment, and Gross Domestic Product.
The Deputy Minister-Designate said the adverse effect of Covid-19 had made the need to create opportunities for further growth in the mining communities relevant.
The ministry will push the policy to refine portions of minerals produce by the large-scale mining companies locally to derive the maximum benefit from the country’s gold resources and to provide raw materials to feed the auxiliary industries.
“The government policy is to promote local content and participation in the mining sector, making it possible for Ghanaian entrepreneurs to increase their participation in the mining industry, especially not only in the areas of providing inputs and services but also taking commanding heights in the ownership of mining companies,” he said.
In this direction, the government will work to build the local support services industry to enable it to compete in the supply chain in terms of quality and standards to capture the mining inputs market in the sub-region and on the continent.
Mr Eric Asubonteng, President of Ghana Chamber of Mines, commended government for the partnership with industry to deal with the challenges in the mining sector and to exploit the opportunities.
“In all these the best forward is to form a constructive partnership between industry and government to ensure the challenges are dealt with and to take advantage of the opportunities before we run out of time,” he said.
Mr Asubonteng stressed the need for more investments into mining exploration to allow the country to maintain its leadership position in the industry on the African continent.
He said dwindling investment in exploration in the country’s mining sector could take away the lead and trigger a downward trend in production within the next 10 years.
Ghana now ranks fourth in the league of planned investments into mining exploration, behind Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali.
Overall, planned investments in gold exploration projects in Africa fell from $615 million in 2019 to $590 million in 2020.
Mr Asubonteng said the reduction in exploration investment was not a one-off event but a trend for the past years, adding that exploration would help to sustain future production.