Expectation of communities in mining areas can be managed –Sulemanu Koney

High expectation for direct employment for indigenes within mining communities can be managed to promote peaceful co-existence between mining firms and its communities, Mr. Sulemanu Koney, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has said.

He said: “If mining communities understand the unique nature of the industry, the expectation can be minimized at all times for peaceful co-existence”.

Mr. Koney was speaking in an interview with the B&FT at a two-day Exclusive Marketing Forum and Exhibition held at Tarkwa in the Western Region. It was organised by the Chamber of Mines under the theme “Mining Support Services’ Relevance To Mining Operations; A Key To Sustainable Mining”.

The Exclusive Marketing Forum offers participants an ideal platform for the exchange of information and discussion of variety of issues including mining companies requirements for the delivery of quality products and services as well as challenged faced by the suppliers.

“When mining companies work through partners in the supply chain, this is where the employment is; the dynamism within the mining industry is so much in terms of technology, innovations, among others”.

According to him, the days when a mining company employed 20,000 or 30,000 workforce about two decades ago are all gone. Currently, most of the operations have a lot of technology, innovations, and robots among others and have actually taken over the jobs traditionally done by the individuals.

He said there is the need for the communities in mining operational areas to understand the unique nature of the industry.

“The goodnews is that although they have been displaced in direct employment and the scheme of doing things in the mining industry, you will find a lot of opportunities in the supply chain and that is why engaging the mining industry and the suppliers is very important ” he added.

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Also, he said there should be a lot of local companies that will meet the specification of the industry to supply materials and equipment needed in the mining industry rather than importing stuffs.

“This will let us cultivate our own so that they can also employ people from the catchment area and beyond” he said,

Participating mining companies at the forum were; AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Gold Mine, Asanko, Gold Fields Ghana, Golden Star Resource, Ghana Manganese Company, Kinross as well as Newmont Ghana and Perseus.

Mr. Konney said the mining supply chain provide  an expansive opportunity for employment; a study conducted by the Chamber a few  years ago shows that for every person employed directly by the mining firm, 15 more persons are employed indirectly in its supply chain.

“It is the Chamber’s expectation that this forum will complement the forging efforts to deepen the procurement of locally produced inputs” he said

Mr. Stephen Osei-Bempeh, General Manger, Gold Fields Ghana Limited Tarkwa commended the Chamber of Mines for organising the forum adding that it is a laudable initiative and must be applauded.

He said for the mining companies to remain in the industry, there is the need for prices on certain equipment to be reduced.

He mentioned that the mining companies, have some challenges such as limited manufacturing capacity of companies in Ghana, quality of materials that are purchased in the country, pricing, increasing demand for employment in the communities in which the mining companies operate among others.

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“If these are resolves, there would not be the need for the mining companies to import materials needed in the industry into the country” he said.

He charged the participants to come out with ideas that will help address some of the challenges facing the mining companies in the country.

Mr. Emmanuel K. Asubonteng, Chief Revenue Officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) explained that the Authority is fully aware of the significant contribution in job creation and tax revenue generation.

He mentioned that there are type of taxes that affect mining support services; these are corporate income tax -25%, branch profit tax-7%, dividends 8% among others.

On fiscal regime in the mining sector, he said there is capitalallowance-20% straight line, corporate income tax-35% subject to stability agreement, carry over losses for five years as well as royalities-5% and 3-5% sliding scale subject to stability agreements.

According to him, tax incentives for the mining companies serves as stimulant for all players in the mining sector. Present incentives include capitalization of cost of mining right and cost of prospecting for capital allowance purposes, retention of a portion of foreign exchange proceeds in an external account for purchase of input requires for mining among others.

He encourage individuals, businesses and companies to register with the GRA, get their Tax Identification Number (TIN), file returns and pay taxes on due dates as well as report accurately.

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