Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has reiterated government’s commitment to address holistically the menace of illegal mining with the support of stakeholders.
Speaking during a courtesy call on him by members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Amewu called for collaboration with the Chamber to take the fight to the illegal miners.
“Mining in the forest and in water bodies must be stopped. We will take the fight to the illegal miners. We therefore need the Chamber’s collaboration,” he added.
Mr Amewu said policies in the mining sector were geared towards enhancing growth and expressed the hope that by working together the country could achieve the benefits from the sector.
“We can achieve the benefits of the mining industry, if we work hand-in-hand with the mining firms. My doors are opened for your suggestions,” he said.
Mr Kwame Addo-Kufour, the President of the Chamber, pledged the Chamber’s support for the implementation of policies and programmes to speed up the growth and development of the mining sector.
He said there were many opportunities in the mining industry and minerals value chain to create a viable and competitive industrial sector.
Mr Addo-Kufuor emphasised the contribution of mining to Ghana’s economic development over the years, saying we believe that there is more scope for accelerated economic development on the back of the minerals and mining industry.
Except in 2015, the mining industry has been the leading contributor to the nation’s fiscal purse. Its contribution to direct domestic revenue improved from 1.3 billion Ghana cedis in 2015 to 1.6 billion Ghana cedis in 2016, representing a growth rate of 23 per cent.
“Aside from its significant role in improving the balance of payments position, particularly in the context of an IMF programme (Extended Credit Facility Programme), it is also worth noting that it was a major contributory factor for the depreciation of the local currency relative to other traded currencies,” Mr Addo-Kufuor said.
Member companies of the Chamber have returned an average of 73 per cent ($2.4 billion) of their mineral revenue since 2009.
Mr Addo-Kufuor appealed to the Minister to work with his colleague at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to address the issue of granting permits for projects, which was a major, challenge facing the mining companies.
There is also the challenge of the paltry proportion, 4.95 per cent of the total mineral royalty, which goes directly to the 14 district assemblies in whose jurisdiction mining takes place.
In 2016, mining companies paid mineral royalty of GH? 550 million to the government. This implies that only GH? 27 million is expected to be returned to the district assemblies for development, he said.
The Ghana Mining & Energy Summit opening ceremony would be held on the 30th May, 20017, while the Chamber’s 89th Annual General Meeting would take place at the Accra International Conference Centre on the 2nd