Former President J.A. Kufuor has urged the Minerals Commission Board to deepen Ghana’s mining industry local content by developing Ghanaians in the sector to become billionaires.
He noted that, “as a country, it is about we making deliberate and conscious effort at developing our own to become billionaires and the mining sector especially is where the prospects are for now”.
“I therefore implore you to look beyond the local content policy of employment creation and fashion out new policies that will develop and grow Ghanaians to become owners of giant mines in the country”.
The former President made the remarks when the Minerals Commission Board, under the Chairmanship of Mr S.K. Boafo paid a courtesy call on him at his residence.
On the illegal mining (galamsey) menace still prevailing in the country despite government’s efforts at stemming the practice, the former President advised that, a national forum should be held, with the President in attendance, to sensitize the entire nation about the extent of devastation on the country’s environment as well as consequences on the generation yet unborn.
Former President Kufuor further called for a second look at using the ‘stick approach’ of criminalization as a first option of dealing with the illegal mining issues and adopt policies and initiatives that will appropriately deal with the problem.
He proposed that the Minerals Commission should explore further the mining concession ‘blocked out areas’ concept where interested small scale miners were registered as cooperatives/groups and licensed within the concession area.
This way, their activities can be checked and monitored according to the mining compliance and best practices, the former President noted.
On his part, the Board Chairman Mr Boafo was grateful to the former President for the opportunity offered the Board to pay him a courtesy call and most importantly for his wise counsel.
He assured that, the Board will deliberate on the former President’s advice and fashion out policies and modalities to have them implemented.
He informed the ex-President that since its appointment by President Akufo-Addo and subsequent inauguration, the Board had done a lot of work in transforming the mining sector.
He emphasized that, “Ghana was recently ranked the No. 1 producer of Gold in Africa.
Also, prospecting activity is currently under- way in the Central Region around Saltpond and Mankessim for commercial find of Lithium, a mineral which is expected to play a key role in the world’s energy transition.
He said because of the innovative research and discoveries into the use of lithium in the production of batteries for electrical vehicles and equipment, it would strengthen the policy to diversify Ghana’s minerals production base among others”.
The Board Chairman indicated that, the Commission in collaboration with the sector Ministry and the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) was already working on a community mining programme concept to bring small scale miners under a “blocked out” concession area so that they could be properly monitored to mine responsibly and be easily regulated.
He said in order to ensure that mining communities did not become ghost towns even after cessation of mining and also discourage the youth especially from illegal mining, the Minerals Commission has adopted oil palm as sustainable livelihood project in mining communities notably Dunkwa-Ayanfuri.
The Commission will extend the project to the Eastern Region, where community members, are supplied free oil palm seedlings to venture into oil palm production.