Stakeholders have made a comprehensive discussion on a practicable vision for the mining industry in Ghana at a workshop held in Wa.
The forum was to solicit inputs from the stakeholders in drafting a sustainable vision for the industry.
Themed, “Developing Ghana’s Mining Vision”, the workshop was also used to sensitise the participants to raise awareness on the new mining regulations passed recently.
According to a GNA report, Nii Osah Mills, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, told the meeting that investment inflows into the mining sector from 1983 to 2015 increased the output of all minerals production in Ghana, bringing in about 16 billion US dollars.
Gold production increased by 93 per cent from 2.24 million ounces in 2002 to over 4.3 million ounces in 2014.
However, in 2015, the Minister said there was a significant reduction to 3.63 million ounces due to declining metal prices among others.
He said despite the reduction, Ghana still maintained its position as the second largest producer of Gold in Africa and ninth in the World.
Nii Mills said the sector contributed 27 per cent of revenue, which was collected by the Domestic Tax Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority in 2012, 18 per cent in 2013 and 14 per cent in 2015, and provided an average of 40 per cent of total merchandise export earnings over the last 10 years.
About 22,000 people were employed for large-scale mining; while it is estimated that over one million people were engaged for small scale mining in 2015.
He said the perception that African countries had not benefited enough from the exploitation of their mineral resources stemmed from the fact that the continent still exports most of its mineral resources in the raw state.
Additional to that challenge, had been the limited linkage development of the mining sector with the rest of the economy.
Nii Mills therefore urged the stakeholders to help identify additional challenges and suggest ways that could be used to address the gaps.
Dr. Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, Minister of State at the Office of the President in Charge of Private Sector Development and Public Private Partnership (PPP), said the mineral sector had the potential to improve the economy, but warned that its exploitation should be done without jeopardising the environment, especially water bodies, which could cause health risk to the population.
He called for the implementation and enforcement of mining and environmental related laws to safeguard the exploitation of the mining sector and the environment from abuse by citizens and foreigners.
Dr. Pelpuo urged institutions responsible for the enforcement of laws to read the laws thoroughly and be abreast with them for appropriate enforcement to deter offenders.
Mr. Issahaku Nuhu-Putiaha, Wa Municipal Chief Executive, said one of the greatest challenges facing Ghana’s mining industry had been the sustainable exploitation of the mineral resource within the framework of environmental integrity and social concerns.
He said for mining to make any meaningful contribution to sustainable development, it was important to ensure that the exploitation was done in a humane and environmentally friendly manner, devoid of violating any of the laws and regulations governing the operations of mining in Ghana.