President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has raised two important issues about gold and mining of the country’s minerals at the UAE-Ghana Business Forum in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
He says the government would collaborate with stakeholders around the world to mine Ghana’s mineral resources in an environmentally-friendly manner for national development. (See our lead story).
Then he adds that the government would not only mine the minerals to boost export earnings but also use assistance from relevant sectors of the economy to generate value-added benefits along the minerals value chain.
We think these issues are ones that have been in the public domain for a long time to the extent that even a section of the public now considers them as mundane because successive governments have failed to make them the reality expected.
However, since President Akufo-Addo has resurrected them, the whole nation should rejuvenate the conversations about them and probably support the government in any way possible to realise these national dreams.
We know that already registered companies like Anglo Gold Ashanti and Newmont are doing responsible mining in the country but there are serious issues with illegal mining because of its negative environmental impacts on the country’s water resources and land, particularly farmlands.
We cannot forget the efforts of the Akufo-Addo administration in fighting illegal mining, otherwise known as galamsey.
What is worrying rather relates to the resistance to the fight by the galamseyers and rumours of underhand dealings by some of the very security personnel and state officials engaged to carry out the fight.
In the face of this, we want to believe that the President’s assertion regarding environmentally-friendly mining means zero-tolerance for any mining activity that would compromise the serenity that is supposed to exist in the country’s environment.
If that is so, then we want to appeal to the government to stoke the fire of the galamsey fight because the fire appears to be dying.
This would send signals to investors that they can have peaceful business as illegal miners would not be around to trespass on their concessions.
Concerning adding value to the country’s minerals, particularly gold, we would only say that
this should have been done right from the moment the idea came to mind because the benefits for the country’s progress are enormous.
We think by raising that conversation again, President Akufo-Addo is giving the impression that the delay in implementing the idea should end now.
If that is the case, then we agree with him fully because it is about time the leadership of the country stopped procrastinating about such important decisions that have huge promise for national development.
Even in the current scheme of things, President Akufo-Addo says gold, as both a commodity and a financial asset, accounts for more than 90 per cent of the country’s mineral revenue.
We, therefore, believe that value-addition can increase revenues from gold and other minerals in the country, hence the need to pursue that economic practice.