20 August 2014

Ghana: Govt Urged to Ratify Mineral Rights

press release

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemani Koney, has urged the executive and legislative arms of government to work harmoniously to ensure the ratification of minerals rights in the country as required by law.

Failure to do this in good time according him "does not speak well of the country and gives the impression that companies are operating illegally".

Mr Sulemani Koney said these in a remark at a one - day workshop on Ghana's Mining Sector organised for members of the parliamentary press corps in Accra yesterday under the theme: "Reporting on the minerals sector; what the reporter need".

"As is well known, time is of the essence with regards to mining projects and the industry reiterates its plea for governance issues which are entirely out of the hands of mining companies to be handled expeditiously by the afore -mentioned arms of government," he said.

He also underscored the need to diversify the country's minerals portfolio on account of the proven reserves of kaoline, lime stone, salt, marble, iron ore and other sought -after base minerals and called on government and other state advocates of mining such as the minerals commission to pursue deliberate, systematic and aggressive policies to channel Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into non -gold minerals.

"Aside insulating the country against external shocks in the event of a decline in prices of any metal, a diversified minerals sector provides a sustainable basis for economic growth," he noted adding that, mono-mineral economies lag behind countries with multiple resources in terms of development.

He was however hopeful that the President's resolve to diversify the economy away from the dependence of primary exports to industrial development would soon be realised on the back of the minerals and mining industry.

Mr Sulemani pointed out that whiles the chamber acknowledged and applaud the efforts of regulators in redefining their engagement with the industry "it commits to work collaboratively to improve upon their turnaround time".

He also expressed concerns over the long lead times in the issuance of permits and licenses noting that such delays drags the commencement of key projects and hurts the cash flow of mining companies as well as significantly defer the receipts of fiscal revenue by the state.

He encouraged regulators in the industry to endeavor to create an enabling environment to support activities of the mining companies.

Mr Simon Atebiya, Technical Director at the Ministry of land Natural Resource, in a presentation on " background, government policies and current status of the mining industry in Ghana," observed that with a reasonably well-known and attractive mineral resource base, significant mining investment has been attracted into the country over some 20 years of stable multi-party democracy.

He pointed out that beyond direct fiscal receipts, the sector has great capacity when it is integrated into the economy adding that this is achieved through several channels: additional fiscal revenues from mining-related activities, employment generated by these activities, inputs provision for other sectors, research and development activities, and technology.

Some key challenges confronting the sector he noted include inadequate linkages between the mining sector and the rest of the economy and poor diversification of the sector, which is concentrated on gold.

He added that recent reforms and strategies have been put in place to address these challenges includes the revision of the draft national minerals and mining policy aims at consolidating various policies in the mining sector into the national minerals and mining policy, with "Sustainable Development through Mining" as a guiding principle."

Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah )

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