New Dawn For Non-Traditional Minerals
The Akufo-Addo-led government,through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, is wooing investors for large-scale exploration and development of non-traditional minerals deposited in some parts of the country.
According to a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, recent investigations in parts of the country have revealed that Ghana has a potential for base metals,notably zinc, lithium and copper.
The move forms part of the efforts to position Ghana as the mining hub of Africa, where all mining and related activities, as well as various linkages, will be centred and take place.
As a result, George MirekuDukersaid government is exploring ways to encourage investments into the sector other than the traditional ones.
“Ghana is pursuing strategies to encourage investments into minerals other than the traditional minerals of gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese. Recent geological investigations in some parts of the country have indicated the potential for base metals, notably Copper, Nickel, Zinc, Chromium, Lithium etc,” he said.
Mr. Duker mentioned that, “To optimize the benefits from this broad spectrum of resources, while planning their discovery and use, Ghana is also making conscious efforts to add value to minerals won in the country.”
He indicated that “Presently, given the level of knowledge of their potential,the country’s bauxite and iron one resources are the focus for developing an integrated bauxite, alumina and aluminum project, and an integrated iron and steel project respectively in Ghana.”
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of a two-day West African Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum (WAIMM) Annual Industry Conference on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, Mr. Duker said efforts are also being made to add value to these minerals.
He disclosed that the government has established corporate entities to promote and see to the development and implementation of these programmes.
The Deputy Minister therefore called on the private sector for proposals for partnership to explore and develop the potentials of these minerals to create jobs and wealth.
“The Government of Ghana welcomes private sector proposals and see up the development and implementation of these programmes.”
Speaking under the topic “Enhancing the Sustainability of the Mining Industry in Ghana through Legislation and Transparency,” the Deputy Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem constituency in the Western Region, said Ghana is at a stage it has to look beyond what mining industry has achieved “In terms of fiscal benefits to the economy.”
He stressed that “Ghana’s accelerated economic development will require going beyond this and fostering the extractives—the minerals and mining, oil and gas-industries being integrated with the rest of the other sectors of the economy.”
He said Ghana’s minerals and mining policy is designed to ensure that mining contributes to sustainable development and also to make sure that investor interests are protected, and the mineral resources are managed for the collective interest of the people within the law.
“For centuries, the mining industry has served as the bedrock for Ghana’s socio-economic development and so every policy initiative rolled out is geared towards the purgation of the industry to enhance revenue generation capacity.
“With Ghana serving as one of the leading gold producing nations in Africa, the precious mineral alone contributed about 95 percent of the total mineral production of Ghana,” he pointed out.
The Deputy Minister said the sector, in 2021, contributed about 16.48% of government revenue and 35.6% in total merchandize exports, adding that the country generated export revenue of $5.083billion from the exportation of 2.820million ounces of gold.
On the much-talked about local content law, Mr.MirekuDuker said the minerals and mining regulations, which came alive in 2020 (LI. 2431), was to among others promote job creation through the use of local expertise, goods and services, businesses and financing in the mining industry value chain and the retention of their benefits in the country.
He added, “It is also aimed at achieving local level and in-country spend got the provision of goods and services in the mining industry value chain as well as increase the capabilities and international competitiveness of domestic businesses.”
Touching on some of the challenges that slowed activities in the sector, especially these past few years, the Deputy Minister was quick to mention the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war.
He said the extractive companies had to adjust to a “new normal” due to restrictions on labour movements resulting in reduction in upstream exploration, development and production activities as well as local service contracts and jobs.
The two major crises have therefore led to a global discussion on how to build formidable economies so that a future pandemic can be withstood.
A Ghanaian mining, acknowledged that Ghana has very robust mineral policies, having mined for several decades with technical expertise, but said in these days investors are looking for several options, as well as resource base.
To attract more investors into Ghana’s extractive sector, he recommended that Ghana improves its laws periodically as it is done in very successful countries where mining is done.
He also asked that its geological potential is marketed very well to the world market, and ensure that authorities understand the fundamentals of the industry so that they can make sound laws to attract investors.
He further said that investors are moving to giant mining countries, like Australia and Canada, even though Ghana has huge mineral potential because it still needs to improve on the laws, understand the dynamics, build robust policies, fiscal resources and develop human resource, among others, in order to compete with the rest of the world.
He said the issue of security is one important area investors look at when investing their money, adding that, in the case of Ghana, these investors are often concerned about illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
Mr.Antwi said even though government is doing a lot, more remains to be done.
He criticized government’s use of the military to fight the menace, saying that will not work unless the authorities change the current approach.
“The other issue we face here is security issue. The investors are asking questions that if galamsey is intruding into legal concessions then it is risky to put your money here. We have instances of Obuasi, Bibiani and so on, so the community issues have to be addressed. You don’t address it through the use of military means; it has to be engagement.
“You sit down and let them understand the dynamics of the industry, where it is heading and challenges and when the benefits come, let us ensure that the communities also enjoy because you are mining on their lands.
“It is not all about job creation; it’s about the other benefits, creating opportunities, businesses, local content and so on.
“So while the government is doing a lot, I think we still have a long way to go in terms of community enjoyments so that these demonstrations that are going on, it is going international and the investors see Ghana as somehow a risky country,” he said.
The 5th annual WAIMM Industry Conference WAIC2023 seeks to provide an excellent opportunity for networking, high-end industry solutions, latest development in industry practices and operations, technological and technical recommendations to solve industry challenges and knowledge sharing with experts and both local and international consultants.
Participants were drawn from all areas in the extractive sector, including students from the University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, (UDS), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT).