Story: I Kofi Owusu TAWIAH
Ghana has produced 4.2 million ounces of gold since 2018 making the country Africa’s leading producer of the commodity and the 6th largest in the world.
Data from the Chamber of Mines also shows that Ghana’s Export Earnings from gold shot up from $15 million in 1992 to $770 million Dollars in 2019.
Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mining, George Mireku Duker disclosed this in Kumasi at a capacity building session for District Mining Officers and Regional Managers of the Minerals Commission.
The 3-day training brought together District Mining Officers and Regional Managers of the Minerals Commission from gold mining regions in Ghana to build their capacity in new modalities being adopted by the Commission to fast-track licensing application and processing for prospective mining concessionaires.
The training was a follow-up to a recently organized national dialogue on mining held in Accra and Kumasi.
Participants, including Small Scale Miners made complaints and suggestions on how to address the age-old ‘galamsey’ menace that continued to destroy Ghana’s natural environment.
One of the complaints was that most often, applicants for mining licenses and concessions got frustrated while applying for a legal license and in searching for information needed to pursue their business.
Mr Mireku Duker disclosed that since 2018, the country had produced a total of 4.2 million ounces of gold to become Africa’s largest producer.
He however warned that Ghana could lose this enviable status if the current regime on Withholding Tax was not addressed.
“Ghana is the largest producer of gold in Africa since 2018 and the 6th in the world with an average production of 4.2 million over the years. If care is not taken on the withholding tax component that will be instituted, we will move from the leading position probably to the 3rd because the comparison from the export point shows that we are drilling” the Minister said.
Mr. Mireku Duker announced that the government would establish an entity to focus on salt mining and develop the clay and sand winning sectors to generate more income for the economy.
“We are about to establish the Salt Development Corporation. We want to have a focused development agenda where these minerals will be given different attention for different purposes. Recently the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation established a contractual agreement and if that is done, Ghana is going to go ahead to benefit from its natural resource”, the Minister added.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi noted that with the capacity building workshop and provision of logistics to the Mining Officers, they have no excuse not to perform.
“In a maximum of a month, we will no longer accept paper applications. You don’t have to go to the bank to do a banker’s draft. It should be possible for a small-scale miner to even submit an application over the weekend because he can just pay by MOMO, and the system will pick it. This can shorten the process as they say when the license is delayed, they will start work and that contributes to galamsey” according to the Acting CEO of the Minerals Commission.