Fiscal receipts from mining, quarrying increase

Total fiscal receipts from the mining and quarrying sectors in the country increased from GH¢1.65 billion in 2016 to GH¢2.1 billion in 2017, the Ghana Chamber of Mines has indicated.

According to the Chamber, the mining sector has been the largest domestic tax base for the country for the past six years, “and it has been forecast that the sector is set to perform even better in the coming years, and will remain an indispensable partner in the country’s quest for economic growth and development”.

President of the Chamber, Eric Asubonteng, disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf by the Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer, Sulemanu Koney, at the opening of a two-day conference on ‘Environment, Technical and Social Affairs of the Mining Sector’, here on Thursday.

The maiden conference, which was part of the Chamber’s 90th anniversary, was under the theme, “A Responsible and Sustainable Mining Industry, A Partner for National Development.”

It brought together players from all the mining sectors in the country and others from Europe to discuss the sustainability of the minerals and mining industry.

Among the objectives were to stimulate deeper collaboration between regulators and member companies in addressing the challenges that bedevil responsible mining practices, deliberate and identify solutions to operational, environmental and social bottlenecks on mine sites as well as foster cross-learning through sharing of best practices and peer reviewed dissemination of research findings.

It was interspersed with presentations with topics such as ‘building a robust mining environmental management plan to anchor technical and social outputs’, ‘mine operations efficiency’, ‘mitigating the risk around the blast and controlling ground vibration and environmental impact of blasting’, ‘value addition to Ghanaian bauxites – the role of waste plastics in minimisation of red mud production’.

Due to lack of proper systems and structures to internalise the benefits of the sector, Mr Asubonteng noted that Ghanaians were yet to benefit fully from the mining sector.

He noted that, though gains have been made, “many challenges continue to plague our operations which require urgent attention to ensure that the benefits from the mineral resources of the country are tangible and beneficial”.

“For us, profitability cannot and would never take precedence over sustainability, profit matters to the core of our business, but people and environmental sustainability are at the core of the business”;.

“The way forward for responsible mining in our world today is an industry that values lives more than a quick means of making money”, he stated.

On his part, Mr Koney urged industry players to ensure environmental responsibility was their key focus saying, “how to protect the environment is very critical in mining”.

Professor Chris Gordon of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation, University of Ghana, Legon, urged the participants to be proactive in promoting environmentally-friendly mining and called on them to do proper management of the tailing dams.

He urged the Chamber to be keener on how the mining companies ‘are self-policed’ to prevent activities of illegal mining (galamsey) in their concessions.

 FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI

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