A weigh bridge constructed to weigh bauxite and manganese at Apimanim in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region has been inaugurated by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor.
Bauxite and manganese over the years had been transported by rail, but due to the downward trend of the Ghana Railways Company’s capacity to provide the required services, the option for relying on haulage vehicles to transport the minerals was accepted.
Speaking at the ceremony on Tuesday, Mr Jinapor said since the discovery of manganese and bauxite at Nsuta and Awaso in the Western and Western North Regions respectively, these minerals had contributed immensely to development of the Ghanaian economy.
He said the Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) and Ghana Bauxite Company (GBC) involved in the exploitation of these minerals relied on rail for the transportation of the minerals to the Port of Takoradi for export to other countries.
Mr Jinapor said apart from the long distances and the cost involved, transportation of these minerals by road had other consequences, such as road traffic, safety challenges to communities along the haulage corridor and rapid deterioration of the road network due to a mismatch between the road’s capacity and haulage vehicle axle loads.
He said other challenges and allegations of inaccurate report of figures were as a result of lack of enforcement and poor monitoring of bulk hauling activities.
Consequently, the Minister said his ministry and the Minerals Commission jointly engaged stakeholders, and came to the conclusion that the country lacked mechanism to track and audit actual volumes of bauxite and manganese produced and exported.
The Minister said in the absence of a functioning refinery to add value to these minerals, the tracking of these exports was crucial as well as the main source of revenue generated from production, adding, “the ministry will collaborate with all relevant agencies including the Ghana Highway Authority to ensure accurate reportage of minerals transported and exported.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, indicated the contribution of minerals to the development of the country was so great that all must be done to protect the proper haulage and export of the minerals.
He said the weighing of minerals from the mining sites before exportation would ensure proper handling of resources for better economic gains, and it would also make the mining companies do the right thing expected of them.
The Chairman for the occasion, Obrempon Hima Dekyi XIV, said the construction of the weigh bridges by the Minerals Commission was to allow fair play and government would get real value for her minerals.
FROM PETER GBAMBILA, APIMANIM