The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is keen on seeing that Ghanaians benefit appropriately from mining while pursuing policies to enhance the transformation of the mining sector into a catalyst for industrial transformation.
This also includes an effort to improve transparency and accountability in the exploitation of mineral resources, as well as addressing the other challenges facing the sector.
According to the Minister, this has been demonstrated through the formulation of various policies and laws for the sector. These include: the amendment of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) to introduce deterrent sanctions for illegal small-scale mining; introduction of regulations for tracking the use of earthmoving equipment like excavators in the mining sector and the passing of Local Content Regulations.
Others are the planned national dialogue on small scale mining; ongoing policy discussion for mining companies to devote part of their gold produced locally to support the development of local refineries among others.
Mr. Abu Jinapor, in an address read on his behalf, during the Virtual National Dialogue on Extractive Policy in Ghana recognized the immense contribution of the sector to the economy. “The sector is identified as a key pillar with the potential to spur growth and catalyse economic transformation of our economy.”
The government, he noted, also acknowledges that for the sector to reach its full potential there is the need for comprehensive policy reforms to ensure effective governance of the sector.”
It is resulting from this among others that government policies for the sector have been consolidated, with some key objectives outlined to ensure that mining contributes to sustainable and inclusive development.
The focus is geared toward promoting local content and local participation; diversify the country’s minerals production base; ensure beneficiation and value addition of minerals mined among others.
“The overarching goals of these policies are to ensure that mining contributes to broad base growth and development of our people.”
Although a number of these policies have been implemented through the enactment of specific laws and regulations to enable their implementation, it is acknowledged that major challenges still face the sector in terms of how to adequately implement these policies effectively and enforce the various laws and regulations governing the sector.
According to the Minister, “as the sector evolves, the government has had to deal with evolving challenges and, therefore, needed to amend and improve upon our policies and laws” citing the small-scale mining sector as an example.
The virtual dialogue on the extractive policy was organized by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) in partnership with the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), PIAC and Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI).
The event was held under the theme “Toward a Sustainable Future for Extractive Governance in Ghana – Interrogating Past Reforms for Exploring New Policy Directions.”
The Co-chair of GHEITI, Dr. Steve Manteaw during a presentation at the event enumerated a number of challenges facing the mining sector as well as efforts made by civil society organizations towards addressing them.
Particularly, in his concluding presentation, he noted that the GHEITI mining sector reports provided a lot of lessons for putting together Ghana’s petroleum management framework. However, he lamented the failure to correct these mistakes in the mining sector that guided the fashioning out of the petroleum sector framework.
“If the country was to keep faith with its commitments under the various multilateral protocols, and worked closely with its citizens, it is likely to end up with a better governed and a more rewarding mining sector,” he stressed.