President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the country will soon stop the exportation of bauxite and iron ore in their raw state as part of government policy to retain the highest end of the mining value chain in the country.
According to the President, the surest way to optimally benefit from our natural resources was to add value to them and ensure that they have adequate linkages to the other sectors of the economy.
He said the establishment of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) provided a firm foundation to build in the country integrated aluminium and iron and steel industries.
The President was speaking at a two-day Natural Resources Stakeholder Dialogue organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited, in partnership with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
The dialogue, held under the theme “Harnessing our natural resources responsibly for sustainable collective good,” brought together stakeholders in the natural resources sector, to deliberate on how to efficiently manage the natural resources of the country for national development.
In a keynote address, President Akufo-Addo reiterated the importance of natural resources to humanity and bemoaned Africa’s approach to natural resources management over the years, which hadled to the continent becoming the poorest in the world, despite its richness in natural resources.
He also lamented the poor state of the areas where these minerals were derived, such as Obuasi, Bibiani and Tarkwa.
According to the President, African countries had generally not done well in negotiations with companies in the extractive sector, partly due to corruption, incompetence and political instability, and partly due to short-sightedness, which results in countries settling for less. These issues are usually worsened by illicit financial flows from the extractive industry.
The President said the establishment of GIADEC and GIISDEC was borne out of the need to ensure value addition to the country’s mineral resources.
He said of the over US$180 billion global aluminium industry, raw bauxite accounts for only 7.6%, with the greater part of the market generated from processed bauxite.
That, he intimated, was not different from other minerals, and therefore requires that “we add value to our resources”.
Section 28 of the law establishing GIADEC (Act 976), and section 30 the law establishing GIISDEC (Act 988) empower the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to ban the export of raw bauxite and iron ore after five years of the coming into force of these laws.
The President said the government intended to invoke these provisions of the law in the not-too-distant future.
On gold, he said a 400kg refinery had been established through a public private partnership, while steps were being taken to secure a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Certification.
On his part, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, said natural resources management had gone beyond protection and exploitation to issues of sustainability, environmental protection, mitigating climate crisis, and ensuring optimal benefit for the owners of the resources.
He said several measures had been taken towards this end, including local content and local participation in the mining industry, which had seen an increase in the items on the Local Procurement List of goods and services reserved for Ghanaians from 29 in 2018 to 50 this year, as well as the gradual listing of large scale mining companies on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
He said stringent measures had also been put in place to cordon off and protect thecountry’s forest resources from attacks by illegal miners, illegal loggers, agricultural expansionists, and other drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, who also spoke at the event called on all stakeholders to work together to protect the environment.
By Times Reporter