By Eugene Davis
The CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Sulemanu Koney, has reiterated the need to ensure a secured, stable environment aimed at protecting the safety and well-being of mine workforce and host communities as safeguarding its assets and investment.
There are still issues with security personnel, impact on community and worker safety as well as illegal miners invading legally acquired mining concessions which often times, results in serious clashes with union members, thus, putting them in harm’s way.
Speaking at the opening of the three-day 5th Edition of the Ghana Mining and Energy Summit in Accra, Dr. Koney said “Security stands as a critical pillar in the success of any mining operation. The safety and well-being of our workforce and host communities, the protection of our assets and investment, as well as the preservation of the environment, are paramount.
We, therefore, recognize the indispensable role that effective security measures play in fostering a conducive environment for broad-based socio-economic development and investment through responsible mining investment. Through collaborative efforts, deployment of appropriate technology, and adopting a holistic and integrated approach to development, we can create a secure and stable environment that allows our industries in various sectors to co-exist and leverage the presence of each other to create the synergies that undoubtedly create value for our country.”
He also called for the empowering of local communities and creation of opportunities for employment, skills development, and entrepreneurship, which he reckons can unlock the true potential of natural resources for broad-based socio-economic development. For him, the Ghana Chamber of Mines remains committed to driving initiatives that enhance local capacity, promote social inclusion, and nurture a sense of shared ownership of the value generated from our natural resources.
Green minerals policy
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor on his part said Cabinet will soon give its nod on a new policy on Green Minerals that is before expected to guide exploitation of the emerging green minerals sector,
It is anticipated that the policy will end the exportation of critical minerals including lithium, bauxite and iron among others in their raw state, which denies the country opportunity to add real value to the economy.
He maintained that the goal is to ensure that, as much as possible, the country retains the value chain of these and other minerals in the country’s future.
The minister said “Indeed, as at today, we have before Cabinet for its consideration a policy on the green minerals of our country, which, hopefully, will jettison the age-old exportation of raw minerals in favour of value addition.”
The convergence of these two sectors, mining, and energy, presents us with a unique opportunity to shape our destiny and build a sustainable and prosperous nation using clean energy and responsible mining practices. We must unlock the full potential of our mining and energy sectors for local industrialisation. And do so in a manner that ensures energy efficiency, environmental protection, and responsible ecosystem management for climate action.
Further, he indicated that the country must prioritise sustainable practices and adopt an approach that balances economic growth, social equity, and environmental stewardship. It is through this approach “that we can ensure the preservation of our natural resources for future generations while reaping the maximum benefits for our present population.”
He also called for the diversification of the country’s energy mix and reducing reliance on fossil fuels,in order to mitigate the impact of climate change, and create a resilient energy infrastructure, and provide affordable and reliable power to all citizens, regardless of their location.
Newmont Ahafo North Mine progressing
The Director, Communications and External Relations at Newmont Ghana Gold, David Ebo Johnson said the summit was significant given the conversations around energy transition, green technology, which he says provides a platform for companies to demonstrate the steps they are taking towards energy transition.
He also touched on the Ahafo North Mine which he said “we making a lot of progress, as a I speak to you now, we have about 96 percent of the required land for construction, we have a few outstanding land take issues which we are sorting through but construction has begun, and the exciting thing about it is that this work is going to be done by locals.”
The Mine is expected to be completed in the next five years and when operational is expected to generate an average of 300Koz in the first 5 years of its initial 13 year-mine life.
After over 100 years of mining, Ghana’s mining industry continues to be dominated and controlled by foreign interest, with over 99 percent of mining companies being foreign, owning 90 percent of the shares, with government left with a paltry 10 percent carrying interest.
The Ghana Mining and Energy Summit and Exhibition is a biennial conference organised by Ghana Chamber of Mines and is under the theme “Harnessing Mining and Energy Potential for Sustainable National Development”.