‘Influential People Aiding Foreigners To Loot Ghana’

Dr Tony AubynSome influential people and chiefs in the country are conniving with foreign nationals to loot the nation’s mineral resources, Dr. Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, has said.

He has, therefore, charged public officials and chiefs to do some soul-searching and take an uncompromising position to act together in the best interest of the country.

“We should accept to work together to ensure that Ghana derives optimal benefits from its gold deposits and other natural resources,” he said at the inauguration of the Obuasi Gold Buyers Association at Obuasi.

He said in 2013, for example, small-scale mining accounted for 34 per cent (1.4 million ounces) of the total gold production, but the truth was that not all of that was sold through the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC).

He said the Commission would go to every length to fight the negative practice, and hinted of the introduction of radical changes, including a new legislation, to make it mandatory for every ounce of gold produced by small-scale miners to be sold only through the PMMC.

There will also be different licences for those engaged in artisanal and small-scale mining, as well as the creation of another level of mining — medium scale-mining, where foreigners can be brought in but only as minority shareholders,” he stated.

He said to effectively regulate the operation of small-scale miners, and to make sure that dug pits are not left uncovered, all excavators would be registered and fixed with devices to track those being used for mining.

Mr. George Abradu-Otoo, Managing Director of the PMMC, expressed concern about what he described as the increasing control over the internal gold trade by Indians and Chinese, in clear breach of the law.

He insisted that the business of “buying and selling of gold” should exclusively be in the hands of Ghanaians, and questioned why foreigners should determine the price of gold.

That, he said, was unlawful and completely unacceptable and, therefore, welcomed the formation of the association, which, he said, would speak with a strong voice.

Mr. Joseph Yamin, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, said Ghanaians should own and work in mining concessions to bring in more foreign exchange to strengthen the value of the local currency.

Agyaba Kwame Afriyie, Chief Executive of Agyaba Jewellery in Kumasi, asked the buyers to be honest in their business dealings.

The secretary of the association, Mr Valentine Opara, said their goal was to promote a highly secured business environment, by co-operating with the appropriate state institutions.

GNA

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