Awaso — Government, through the Minerals Commission, is taking aggressive steps to ensure that every kilogramme of bauxite and manganese extracted from any field in the country is properly accounted for, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, has said.
According to the minister, the government would install digital weigh bridges at the two mine sites at Awaso and Nsuta in the Western North and Western regions respectively to independently verify the quantity of the mineral resources collected from the fields.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said a third one is to be fixed at Apemanim along the Tarkwa-Takoradi Highway in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region to ensure that the country is not shortchanged.
The minister who said these on Wednesday during a two-day tour of the mining companies, said whiles the weigh bridges at the Awaso and Nsuta mine sites would take inventory at the point of exit, the Apemanim facility would serve as a double-checking point to confirm the tonnage hauled from the point of extraction.
Currently, he said "there is an analogue weigh bridge at Awaso, manned by officials of the Ghana Bauxite Company, a firm in which the state has 20 per cent interest. At the Ghana Manganese Company where Ghana has 20 per cent too, the facility is manned by officers of the company without any independent verification from state quarters."
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said, when completed, the three facilities would be supervised by officers of the Lands Commission, where the state's interest would be maximally protected.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister said, "The weigh bridges would help address the possible under declaration that may have gone on over the period.
"So whatever figures we get here, we will cross check them again at Apemanim and then at the Takoradi Port, we will have marine surveyors who will also assist us in cross checking the figures so that we will be double sure of what we are mining from our fields.
"By this, we will know how much the companies are supposed to pay in terms of taxes and royalties," he told the Ghanaian Times at Awaso.
According to him, "It has been our thinking that," the right quantity of the commodities are not properly accounted for because "they have their own way of measuring what they are taking out which is not available to the Minerals Commission."
The decision to fix weigh bridges, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said, was not to prejudice the companies of any wrongdoing, "but to ensure that there is fairness and transparency, so that both the company and the state benefit."
The land for the Apemanim facility, he said, had been secured and work would commence soon and would be completed in two months.