The government of Ghana erstwhile released a comprehensive roadmap for the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining on a permanent basis.
The roadmap which includes reclaiming and re-afforestation of mined-out areas; restoration of impacted water-bodies; and strict supervision of the processes in awarding mining licences and associated permits to deal with illegal mining has been in the public domain for a while.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, speaking at his residence in a media engagement, said he believes it is a step in the right direction.
“we understand and realises the importance of the small scale mining sector to the economy of Ghana so, we do not have problem to that if government wants to allow the comeback of small scale miners into operation.
“When Australian mining companies come to Ghana to engage in mining activities, they will operate at the highest level possible and exhibit professionalism as well as invest into local communities and train human resources for development,” he said.
He further indicated that Australia’s mining sector is close to 200 years old and have been involved extensively in Africa’s mining operations of which Ghana is strongly featured.
The government is creating the necessary atmosphere for businesses to thrive and is also implementing reforms to make Ghana the hub of foreign investment in Africa which Australian companies he said are monitoring the situation keenly and are interested in investing here.
“Ghana’s economy is stable and investors capital is safe, so I am trying to get Australian companies to invest here because investment is safe here especially in the mining sector and this is all to deepen the economic relationship and partnership between Ghana and Australia” he said.
The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), has recently adopted the Minamata Initial Assessment(MIA) report conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and vows to follow it through.
MIA is an initiative that seeks to find solutions through tailor-made empirical research, anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury or mercury compound, and reduce or eliminate its use with the aim of protecting human health and the environment.
The report indicated that elemental mercury imported into Ghana is used largely in Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) operations to recover gold making communities close to mining areas the leading hotspot.
The MIA report coupled with the Roadmap among other measures that government is putting in place is believed to keep the mining sector serene enough to attract more foreign investment.
Mr. Barnes, also expressed satisfaction with the initiatives that the government of Ghana has taken to rectify the galamsey issues such as: Operation Vanguard; the formation of District Mining Committees against illegal mining, with clearly-defined terms of reference; and the deployment of satellite imagery and drone technology to monitor the mining activities of illegal miners.
Australia’s Africa Mining Company (AMS) is currently doing wonderful in the mining sector here and he indicated that more will be coming to join in business.
The Australian High Commission, has also opened application for its government’s flagship Scholarships Awards 2018.
The awards scheme is aimed at Strengthening the skills and capacities of Ghana’s future leaders by offering them opportunity to study with full scholarship in Australia.
The scholarships are aimed at high calibre, early to mid-career professionals from the public sector, private sector and civil society. It also forms an integral part of Australia’s development program and help to build critical skills and knowledge.
“We are delighted to nurture and facilitate local talent and expertise through our programme So that they can make an important contribution to Ghana’s inclusive growth and development in the future,” he said.
As part of activities to promote the scholarships in Ghana, the Australian High Commission will conduct a series of free public information sessions and practical application workshops in Kumasi and Accra from 3 – 7 September 2018.
Interested applicants should apply at www.australiaawardsafrica.org