Kumasi — THE seven major mining companies operating in the country last year contributed a total of $700 million, the equivalent of GH¢1billion to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), making the mining industry, the number one tax payer and highest contributor to the GRA.
The figure represents 27.61% of the total GRA collections in 2011.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Toni Aubynn, who was highlighting the mining industry's contribution to the government and by extension, the Ghanaian economy in 2011, during an interaction with the media in Kumasi on Wednesday, said the mining sector also paid $430 million (about GHÂÂ¢645 million) in corporate tax to the government through the GRA, which figure represented 38.26% of the total company tax collected in 2011.
He said the industry also voluntarily contributed $29 million, amounting to GHÂÂ¢43 million to communities in which they operated under corporate social responsibility.
The CEO further disclosed that by way of employment, the mining sector engaged 14,257 persons directly, including 0.83% expatriates.
Dr. Aubynn indicated that mining had been the leading foreign exchanger earner since 2000, and as a major contributor to the country's balance of payments, accounted for about 42% of the gross export in 2011.
He mentioned the posting of a $3.1 billion, representing 75% of mineral revenue over and above the 20% statutory of the foreign exchange earning into the country through the Bank of Ghana and the Commercials banks.
The mining companies, according to Dr. Aubynn, are leading the injection of Foreign Direct Investment since 1983, with an increase from $6 million in 1983 to $780 million in 2011.
Referring to value created by the mines beyond fiscal payments, the CEO said the mining companies which are transnational, attracted world class service providers in the area of banking and financial services, transport and logistics, hospitality and Catering, consultancy and engineering services, as well as manufacturing an fabrication who impact knowledge, skills and technologies through the local staff.
Dr. Aubynn said the mining must be properly seen in its potential as a catalyst for development, and as such be fully integrated into the local economy for sustainable development and, thereby making it meaningful to the local people.
He also called on the government to take steps to address the menace of galamsey mining to avoid loss of economic use of the land, most of which are not reclaimed after the illegal activities of the miners.
According to Dr. Aubynn, even though 30% of gold produced in 2011 in the country came from the small scale mining, there was the need to spend time to address the galamsey issue.
He said it was the responsibility of policy makers, law makers and all Ghanaians to passionately deliberate on the legalities and illegalities of galamsey operators and take measures to address the challenges for the benefit of Ghanaians as a whole.