- Discusses mining for sustainable dev’t
The third edition of the much-anticipated Ghana Gold Expo Mining Week has been opened at Takoradi on the theme: ‘The Potential of Mining for Sustainable Development’.
For three consecutive years, the Ghana Gold Expo has been able to bring together companies and business operators from diverse industries on one common platform to explore the possibilities of complementing one another’s effort to achieve synergy.
The Gold Expo, is to evaluate the success and challenges of the mining industry, discuss and then, suggest the way forward for the growth of the industry.
Also, it is to discuss and implement the new global industry standard on tailings management, as well as strengthen the governance of tailings facilities in Ghana.
The scope of this session involved critical environmental management, checks, impact, transparency, cost and sustainability in large-scale operations.
It discussed mining policy forum: ‘mine tailing storage technology, standard, regulations and tailings management, preparedness in the event of tailing future failure, cost impact and public disclosure and public accountability’.
Also, there were deliberations on mining and responsible investment panel where there was a conversation on mineral royalties in Ghana’s economy, mining exploration cost, mining operations and government incentives to attract investors, among others.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in an address read for him, noted that the potential of mining for sustainable development is an important subject to every citizen, as it has a direct relationship with the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“From my participation in the conversations of the last two Ghana Gold Expos, a similar theme has emerged. There is the need for much more lasting mining practices that promote sustainable economic development, most especially, within the communities in which the extractives are located; as a government, we expect the industry to keep being a reliable partner for sustainable development for the economy and the people,” he said.
He noted that over the past years, cooperation and integration of technical and economic activities in the mining sector under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance and other key stakeholders have ensured economic growth, ecological protection of natural resources and environment, and social development including safety at workplaces and community development.
He pointed out that unlocking the potential of mining for development in Ghana also means building a sector that thrives on transparency and community development.
He said government is keen on ensuring the transparent utilisation of mineral royalties. “We have promoted effective partnership between the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) and the Central Bank of Ghana (BoG), especially, as the bank launched its domestic gold purchase programme as part of effort to build gold reserves”.
He enumerated some of the initiatives introduced by MIIF – including the small-scale mining incubation strategy, mineral marketing strategy, among others.
“In our quest to promote sustainable mining that grows our economy, we have tackled illegal mining (galamsey) through the expansion of the Community Mining Scheme (CMS) in which host mining communities are embedded into the mining value chain,” the President said.
According to him, the aim of this initiative is to lawfully create thousands of new jobs in host communities, under the purview of the Minerals Commission and exclusively for Ghanaians. We have created over 5000 direct and indirect employment through this initiative.
He reiterated government’s readiness to work with all stakeholders in achieving this goal. “I believe together in partnership, we can help to transform and create sustainable development of our mining sector and the economy in general”.
He added that, “synergies from this event must lead to opportunities for people to get good education and jobs, improving infrastructure for citizens to have equal access to the benefits that flow from mining revenues”.
Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in an address read for him said government’s policy for the mining sector is to build a sustainable, viable, indigenous and environmentally sound mining industry, with strong local content participation that contributes to sustainable development of our country.
“In the short to medium-term, we seek to make Ghana the mining hub of Africa, where all mining and mining related activities – from exploration to downstream production, and from research to innovation – will be centred,” he said.
He said: “platforms such as this, present us with the opportunity to explore the underdeveloped aspects of our mining industry. One of government’s key policies to achieving its goal for the mining industry is through diversification of our mineral resources.
“Our country is blessed with several minerals – including, copper, nickel, zinc, chromium and lithium. Unfortunately, over-concentration on traditional minerals like gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese has led to the near-neglect of these minerals”.
Lithium, he said, which was first discovered in the 1960s, has remained unexploited till date. But with the evolution of electric vehicles, intended to replace those dependent on fossil fuels and their undesirable environmental impacts, lithium and other battery minerals (and metals) have become even more important than ever.
“We cannot continue to rely on the traditional minerals if we are to reap the full benefits of our mineral resources. Government is committed to working with the private sector to exploit these minerals,” he said.
Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister, mentioned that: “if there is any other impact that the Ghana Gold Expo has been able to make apart from its basic objective of ensuring a safer mining environment through responsible mining, it is the project’s ability to draw in those in academia to proffer practical solutions to long-aged challenges bedeviling the mining sector through capacity-building (especially human capital development) and technology”.
“I am happy to report that, as an outcome of the Ghana Gold Expo Mining Week project, Gold Fields Ghana Limited is currently advancing discussions with University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) for both entities to train community mining companies in the Western Region” he added.
He noted that the coming on board of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) is a complementary step to what stakeholders have been advocating for over the period.
The MIIF, he said, through its Small-Scale Mining Incubation Programme, is building capacities of small-scale and community mining ventures and offering financial models (for equipment financing) which traditionally are difficult for the small- scale miners to access.
Mr. Darko-Mensah mentioned that the commitment by government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to formalise the Small-Scale Mining Sector, 6 out of the 12 District Mining Committees – Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Prestea-Huni Valley, Wassa East, Wassa Amenfi East, West and Central – have been reactivated.
“During our discussions last year, we talked about the Ghana Gold Brand and Certification. We are pleased to inform you that Gold Coast Refinery is currently undergoing the certification programme with Responsible Jewelry Council, an affiliate of London Bullion Market Association (LBMA),” he added.
Ghana Gold Expo Mining Week attracted government, ministries and agencies, mining companies – both small and large, mining support service, Embassies and Diplomatic Missions in Ghana; global financial institutions; representatives from the LBMA, World Gold Council, Forbes, and other notable brands.
The Ghana Mining Week, is convened by Viewtag-Ghana Gold Expo with support from the Western Regional Coordinating Council, Ministry of Land and Natural Resources and Forbes Monaco, among other partners.