The first-ever Ghana Gold Expo has been held in Takoradi, on the theme ‘Promoting Responsible Gold in Africa – Zero Mercury’.
The three-day event brought together international, national, regional and local bigwigs in the gold industry, and provided a platform for actors along the entire gold value chain to interact, share ideas and experiences.
Kwabena Okere Darko-Mensah, Western Region Minister, speaking at the expo opening, noted that institutional disconnection has been identified as one main challenge in the fight against illicit mining activities and trade.
“The initiative for Zero Mercury, which is the theme for the expo, is a good move for the country which is among the 10 gold producing countries in the world; and also demonstrates our commitment to sustaining the gold industry and the environment for future generations,” he said.
He said Ghana has abolished illegal mining and currently has in place Community Gold Mining Schemes, whereby local communities formally own and mine gold from sites registered in their names. The objective, he explained, is to regulate, provide employment and incomes to the youth especially, and to forestall pollution of water-bodies and the degradation of lands.
However, he said, there are still challenges in dealing with illegal mining, and so government will welcome workable solutions from this forum to stamp out galamsey, restore devastated lands and water-bodies as well as boost Community Mining Schemes through funding and technology transfer.
“The Gold Expo is a call to investors in the areas of exploration, mining, processing, refinery, jewellery, mining-tourism among others. In the Western Region, the financial sector is very welcoming; the legal framework in our country is very facilitating and investor-friendly,” he adding.
Mr. Darko-Mensah said tax and incentive regimes ensure the best of returns on investment, and the security agencies as well as the democratic governance of Ghana and hospitality of the chiefs and people ensure perpetuity in investments.