The second edition of the ‘Ghana Gold Expo’ has been held in Takoradi to promote zero mercury.
The event showcased the region’s mineral resources potential, promote the country’s mining sector to the international community, and build strong partnerships to develop the mineral resources for the sustainable development of Ghana.
Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia speaking at the programme disclosed that government will assist the various Community Mining sites with the requisite machinery to allow the miners to extract gold without the use of mercury.
This, he noted will ensure that the mineral deposits in the country are mined responsibly devoid of all chemicals and environmental destructions.
In view of this he said 100 community mining sites, under the government’s Community Mining Scheme, will be in operation by the end of this year.
“It is expected that each of the mining site will employ 3,000 small scale miners; So if each of the 100 sites are employing 3,000 people, about 300,000 small scale miners will be employed by the end of this year”, he added.
He explained that 20 mining sites under the Community Mining Scheme are currently in operation and that by the end of the year the figure will move to 100.
He said the government is also collaborating with key stakeholders and other institutions, including the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa to ensure that most of the machinery needed for the community activities are produced locally.
Dr. Bawumia said the gold mining sector continued to remain an important contributor to the country’s economy and that the sector has provided the largest tax base of the country in the last decade.
However, he was not pleased that mining communities such as Tarkwa, Damang and Prestea, all in the Western Region remained underdeveloped.
“There is no doubt that the rise in illegal mining activities is being fuelled by unemployment but there is also the desire by the community to have a feel of the minerals” he added.
Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, also complained about the fact that people living in mining areas are not reaping the full benefits of the resources due to continuous exportation of unrefined minerals.
“Today, Ghana is a leading global producer of gold and the largest producer in Africa, since 2018 the industry contributes significantly to our economy” he said.
“However, after centuries of producing gold, we cannot continue to export raw gold. We need a paradigm shift and the time to do so is now”, he noted.
He added that “This is the spirit behind the establishment of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) which are part of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s industrial transformation agenda”.
Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister, explained that the overall objective of the Ghana Gold Expo is to promote “Zero Mercury” in gold extraction and to ensure responsible gold mining practices among all industry players.
He said in terms of retooling the sector, plans are advanced to start manufacturing components in Ghana at Anwiankwanta in the Ashanti Region for efficient operations.
Steven Ackah, lead for Viewtag- explained that Ghana Gold Expo was to expose new technologies and innovations in the gold mining industry, network with other countries, stakeholders in the industry among others.