A delegation from the Africa Institute for Extractive Industries (AIEI) on Monday 25th June 2018 paid a courtesy call on the Korean Ambassador, Kim Sungsoo at the Korean Embassy, Accra.
The AIEI delegation was led Dr. Toni Aubynn, Founder and President of the Institute. He was accompanied by Mr Kofi Owusu-Acheaw (Executive Director), Mr Kingsley Clifford Adu (Finance & Administration), Mr Felix Larry Essilfie (Research, Training & Programmes) and Ms Luby Mustapha (Women Affairs).
In his opening remarks, Dr. Aubynn expressed gratitude for the opportunity to formally introduce the Institute to the Embassy and its development agencies and to seek partnership and support for its activities. Discussions with Ambassador Kim bothered on responsible extractives, gender issues in the sector, mineral resources, licensing and regulatory regime in Ghana, issues related to gold purchase scams, ‘galamsey’ and its environmental externalities, etc.
Dr. Aubynn indicated that though Ghana is blessed with several mineral resources, only gold,
diamond, bauxite and manganese have been traditionally mined in commercial quantities in the country, and in recent past hydro-carbons. He however, indicated that there are other minerals such as iron ore, lithium, rare earth, silica, among others, that has not gotten to commercial mining status yet.
In terms of Ghana’s mining legal framework, Dr. Aubynn expressed confidence in the regulatoryregime, calling it ‘one of the best’ in Africa that protects both local and foreign investors.
According to him, gold purchase scam is real and many foreigners have been misled into losing huge sums of money. He therefore advised the Ambassador to caution Korean investors to always check with the Minerals Commission for any suspecting business proposal either in mining permit acquisition or gold purchases.
Illegal mining or ‘Galamsey’ was also a topical issue of discussion. Dr. Aubynn unequivocally condemned the practice and reiterated the need for it to be curbed in order to reverse the devastation to the environment, especially water bodies and lands. He made it clear that, this and many others were the reasons for the establishment of the think tank to support the work of the State and all well-meaning actors in the sector to educate and sensitize the public on the adverse effects of such activities.
He emphasized the Institute’s commitment to use its highly specialized human resources at its disposal to help reclaim degraded lands, water bodies, protect the environment, and to advocate for alternative livelihood for the affected communities.
Dr Aubynn also touched on the AIEIs cardinal principle of responsible, inclusive and beneficial extractive industries which he believes is the only way to attain a satisfactory extractives regime for all stakeholder in the industry.
He therefore called on the Korean government and its agencies to help with the Institute’s drive in building capacity for the extractives industries especially in the Small-Scale Mining Sector, and to provide logistics and grants to support research and advocacy.
Ambassador Kim welcomed the delegation and thanked the AIEI for the visit and touched on the state of Ghana and Korea at independence and described how Korea had been one of the poorest countries in the world at the time.
He added that, about two decades ago the Korean government embarked on a rapid industrial transformation which saw state protection of indigenous companies through legislations and ensured local value addition to raw materials as its main strategy.
He hinted that Korea has fewer mineral resource reserves and depended almost entirely on imports to satisfy the country’s demands. He added that his country’s role in the global mineral industry is primarily a consumer of imported raw materials for its globally ranked manufacturing sector.
Ambassador Kim assured the AIEI delegation of his support for the drive on responsible extractives; that with the unique background of Dr. Aubynn in the extractive industry, having worked both in the public and private sectors, the AIEI will be called upon to present on any forum on the extractives organized by the Embassy to educate Korean investors on mineral development opportunities.
AIEI is a fact-based non-profit, non-governmental organization, which specializes in Policy
Research, Advocacy, Sustainable Development and Training in the extractive industries inAfrica.
Its President & Chief Policy Analyst, Dr. Toni Aubynn has a unique background in the
extractive industries with over 20 year of experience in the sector. He served as both the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Minerals Commission (the country’s key mining regulatory agency) and Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines (the main mouth piece and advocacy body of Ghana’s mining industry). He had previously held various senior executive positions at Tullow Oil Ghana Limited and South Africa-headquartered Gold Fields (Ghana Limited), and Ranger Minerals’ Abosso Goldfields Limited. Dr. Aubynn is a major architect of the Multilateral Mining Implementation Project (MMIP) which is currently the roadmap to address the ‘galamsey’ menace in the country.