Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has assured that the proposed bill to establish the Ghana Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium Development Authority (GIBADA) is not another mining regulatory body.
Dr. Bawumia gave the assurance when the Minerals Commission Board, led by its Chairman-S.K. Boafo, paid a courtesy on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
The Vice-President explained to the Board that the purpose of establishing GIBADA is to promote and facilitate the development of an Integrated Aluminium Industry in Ghana, thereby giving it authority to enter into joint ventures with other players.
He indicated that the Minerals Commission will continue to uphold its regulatory mandate established under the constitution of Ghana, and urged the Board to continue championing this cause.
On the illegal mining, Dr. Bawumia said that on his recent trip to the Western Region – specifically, Tarkwa, Prestea and Wassa Akropong – varied concerns were raised by the people and chiefs regarding extensive damage to the environment caused by the illegal miners using excavators and Chan fans.
He was however of the hope that government’s flagship blueprint – the Multi-sectorial Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) – when launched will help resolve challenges in the small-scale mining sub-sector.
Responding to an appeal by Mr. Boafo for government to take a second look at Value Added Tax (VAT) on exploration operations and allied services in the sector, the Vice-President assured that discussions are far advanced to take a decision on this as it has become clear this is a disincentive to existing and prospective investors in the sector.
Outlining some of the initiatives of the Board since its inauguration last November 2017, the Board Chairman, Mr. Boafo, said work has commenced on restructuring the Commission to position it well to effectively perform its functions as regulator of the country’s mining sector.
According to the Board Chairman, progress has been made in this regard with the re-alignment of Technical Officers in the Departments of the Commission; creation of two additional Regional Offices of the Commission; increasing existing mining districts from 9 to 12; and intensified monitoring and inspection of mining and exploration companies.
He further drew the Vice-President’s attention to key issues in the mining sector that require Government’s immediate intervention, among which are: the proposal for Industrial mineral rights agreements to be exempted from Parliamentary ratification; massive encroachment of quarry mine sites across the country; and poor state of railway infrastructure – especially the Western railway line which is the primary mode of hauling bulk minerals to Takoradi Port.