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Mining companies in Ghana have been challenged to explore innovative ways of improving the lot of people living in communities where they (firms) operate.
Government would be compelled to provide support if the firms will exploit latest technologies and innovations and come up with good business models that will stand the test of time and boost the local economies of their operating communities.
Deputy Minister for Energy, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam threw the challenge when he addressed stakeholders in the mining industry during a local content workshop in Accra on Tuesday.
The session, themed ‘Harnessing the opportunities within the Mining Industry’s local content: The Journey so far and way forward,’ was under the aegis of the Ghana Chamber of Mines.
While admitting it was government’s role to provide funds for development of the communities, the Deputy Minister pointed out that the mining companies were equally expected to play complementary roles.
“Sometimes we get it wrong in our prioritisation but whether we are right or wrong there is prioritization which may not favour your business; are you going to throw your arms in despair? Are you going to operate in that unstable environment?” the Deputy Energy Minister wondered.
He maintained that “your business is to find gold and sell but your business also exposes you to innovative technologies and innovative business models that if you apply anywhere in any venture you will find success.”
He charged mining companies to invest in agriculture, manufacturing, health and education, “so that if the bureaucracy is not bringing success the innovation that is associated with your business will drive that success; you will create models that will get government coming along to provide support for growth and expansion to transform mining communities and the society at large.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Sulemanu Koney noted that member firms had spent $1.4billion on local procurement of goods and services in 2018, however “this significant value failed to reflect in our national statistics.”
The industry had also caused to be created, a number of local firms that supply products to players in the mining sector.
“These services include engineering, grinding media, haulage, security and catering services among others,” Mr Koney stated.
The mining industry, he noted was continually confronted with unique challenges, such as high cost of production, fluctuations in the gold price, environmental and security challenges, amongst others.
Nonetheless, regardless of the challenges, the sector continued to be a key enabler of industrialization and broad-based economic development in Ghana.
It was the Chamber’s desire to see manufacturing and fabrication firms as well as engineering services companies set up in Ghana to offer services to the mining industry and expand to serve the West African market.
In a speech read for the Minster of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, he said local content and value addition had become an integral part of the strategies that resource-rich countries had adopted to increase the benefits from resource extraction.
Local content and local participation would stimulate broad base growth beyond securing optimal rents, royalties, taxes, shares and other revenues, he noted.
“The goal of the local content strategy is to promote linkages with other sectors of the economy through local employment opportunities, local manufacturing of inputs, in-country spending on local procurement of goods and services, technology and skills transfer on local participation through equity and management,” the Minister explained.
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