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General News Tue, 12 May 2009

Mills sees brighter future for mining industry

Accra, May 12, GNA - President John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday assured Ghanaians of a brighter future for the mining industry and called on mining companies to collaborate with Government to protect it to fully play its expected role in the economy.

He observed that gold and cocoa were not doing badly and were not affected yet by the global economic downturn. President Mills made the call when a delegation from the Ghana Chamber of Mines led by its Chief Executive, Ms. Joyce Aryee, called on him at the Castle, Osu, to congratulate him on his ascendancy to the high office and discussed matters of concern to the industry. President Mills, who had served on the Mining Trust Fund, said the sector had come to stay and whatever problem it faced had to be tackled by leaders and politicians.

He asked the mining companies to consider as utmost the interests of the communities in which they operated. Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who accompanied the delegation, said despite the significant contributions of the mining sector to the national economy and development, compensation paid to farmers whose cocoa farms were destroyed was as low as GH¢0.0095 per tree, which could survive for 30 years. He noted that farmers were not happy about this situation, adding that the life expectancy of the trees must be taken into consideration in determining the compensation.

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He also bemoaned the low compensation and royalties paid to the mining communities, which had often been a source of confrontation between the mining companies and farmers. Alhaji Dauda said the Ministry had instructed all District Assemblies, through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, to publish in the local print and electronic media how it would disburse the 55 per cent share of the royalties paid to the Assemblies for development.

He agreed with Ms Aryee on the need for legislation to back the request to increase the royalties paid to mining companies from the present nine per cent to 30 per cent. Ms. Aryee said the Chamber, as part of the social responsibility of the mining companies, had been supporting a number of communities with development projects, and also in education, health, electricity, road construction and housing.

It was also assisting in the development of the human resources through assistance programmes to the University of Mines and Technology at Tarkwa and was also building inter-linkages with the banking, health, tourism and allied industries, she said.

Source: GNA
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