George Mireku Duker, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mining, has revealed that the small-scale mining sector in the country is important for the economy.
Speaking at the Ghana Mining Expo held in the Western Regional capital of Takoradi, as part of the second session discussions, Mr Mireku Duker delivered a profound presentation of importance on the state of Artisanal Small-Scale Mining in the country.
In his presentation, Mr Mireku Duker reflected on the state of the industry at the inception of H. E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration and the rapid and upward trajectory the sector has taken thereafter.
On his thematic presentation of the various facets of the conversation around the small-scale mining sector, the deputy lands minister, who is a staunch advocate of the sector, first outlined the over-aching importance of the sector to the country’s economy.
He revealed that employment opportunities, contribution to government’s Gold for Oil initiative and various socio-economic projects as some of the benefits the country derives from the Small-Scale Mining sector.
Owing to the recognition of the small-scale Mining sector as an integral industry for the attainment of Ghana’s economic goals, Mr Mireku Duker disclosed that government continues to roll out various intervention to address the biggest challenge crippling the sector which is illegal mining, known widely as galamsey.
Government determined to end illegal mining
Whiles admitting the illegal mining challenge is not specific to Ghana, Mr Mireku Duker motioned that government is determined to create a serene and impactful sector which operates in accordance with international standards.
Furthermore, the Deputy Minister noted that government has resolved to move to the industry from a mere production of mineral resources to a value addition one with the establishment of refineries.
Some of the interventions embarked on by government, Mr Mireku Duker highlighted, includes the setting up of community mining scheme, Operation Halt II, facilitation of funding for the licensed small-scale mining companies, recruitment of river wardens, among others.
The fourth edition of the Ghana Mining Expo themed: “Sustainable Mineral Resources Development And Well Being Of Communities” was attended by the some key government officials, members of the Diplomatic corps and miners, suppliers among others.
The three-day conference involved a formal reception, grand opening ceremony and plenary sessions that centred on investment capital, intelligence and investment ideas, indicators to measure well-being in mining regions, ASM gold formalization and central bank domestic purchase program in Africa, in addition to assuring resilience on all fronts and at all times as Africa’s economic bedrock.
The Expo provides a multi-sectoral platform for the sharing and exchange of ideas, opinions and thoughts on the investment opportunities and challenges in the Africa gold sector, aimed at implementing strategies for accelerated growth in mining.
The forum will afford a formal dialogue among accredited representatives of stakeholders – government, both local and national, and international – on the most critical environmental issues.
Additionally, it will include mining investment and the challenges of raising ESG Standards in Ghana, CSR and ESG legal framework as well as the trade and finance master class for small-scale and community mining.
Ghana, a country whose gold and minerals industry dates back centuries, is becoming the leading producer of gold in the world. This is as a result of lower-cost mines, friendlier policies, and new development projects. With Ghana being a top leader in Africa in the gold mining industry, the entire mining industry is faced with enormous challenges and opportunities for new entrants.
As the world of mining is embracing new modes of responsible mining, and ESG best practices, the continent is faced with illegal mining activities, high taxes, and high cost of exploration for both large and small-scale companies, which tends to be a hindrance to the growth of the sector.