The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has assured large-scale mining companies of the government’s commitment to protect their concessions.
He made this pledge during his address at the just ended Mining for Development Forum held in Accra which was themed ‘ensuring the security of operations in Ghana’.
Touching on the theme, the minister stressed the need for mining companies to collaborate with the government through the Ghana Chamber of Mines to ensure security on their concessions.
The minister singled-out the invasion of illegal miners (galamsey) on the concessions of legal large-scale miners as a major concern and proposed two fundamental measures to curb encroachment: “There are two fundamental pillars on which I believe we can chart our path. One in my view is brute enforcement, where you move in immediately to uproot, sack, arrest, prosecute and convict culprits”.
“Another aspect of securing large-scale mining concessions is putting in place sustainable measures to carry the community with you which is absolutely important,” he added.
He emphasised that even though law enforcement is good in resolving issues of encroachment of large-scale mining, the principle of carrying the community along is also very important.
Mr. Jinapor indicated that, historically and in recent times, wherever there are extractive industries, the country is likely to face such difficulties.
“In history and recent times, countries that have extractive industries like the Petrochemical, mining and fishing industries turn to have such challenges. Wherever there are natural resources that are extracted or exploited, the country is likely to face illegalities and issues of contention among local communities and investors or companies”.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Doctor. Sulemanu Koney in his welcome address stated that the Chamber of Mines recognises the indispensable role that each stakeholder plays in the fostering of sustainable growth, innovation and harmony in the mining operations.
Highlighting on the importance of mining in Ghana’s economy, he said “the importance of the mining industry in Ghana’s economy cannot be overstated, it has contributed significantly to our nation’s growth and development, providing significantly to the national kitty, employment, foreign exchange earnings, community development and supporting crucial social infrastructure projects.
Dr. Koney stated that according to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the mining and quarrying sector was the largest contributor to direct domestic taxes mobilized in 2022.
“The total fiscal payment, excluding dividends attributable to the mining sector, amounted to GH¢6.38 billion, which represents 18.6 percent of aggregate direct domestic tax receipts in 2022. Further, the Non-Tax Revenue Unit of the Ministry of Finance reported GH¢435,099,625 as dividend payments by mining companies in 2022”.
He said that overall, the headline fiscal contribution of the mining and quarrying sector in 2022 was GH¢6.82billion.
Referring to the data from the Bank of Ghana, he indicated that the minerals sector was also the country’s largest source of forex in 2022 accounting for 39 percent of gross merchandise receipts in 2022, which exceeded the disparate outputs of crude oil, cocoa and other export commodities in the same period.
The CEO again established that, when a mine is unsecured, it does not only threaten continuous production but the livelihood of the ecosystem that depends on the mine being communities, government, suppliers, employees and shareholders.