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Dr Toni Aubynn
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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr Toni Aubynn has reiterated a call for laws on mining to be reviewed to favour a higher percentage of mining proceeds going to inhabitants of mining areas.

He stressed that mining communities will be justified in demanding more if mining receipts are only kept in the Consolidated Fund.

If all the revenue from mining stays in the centre, the Consolidated Fund, then people living close to mines will not see any benefit and therefore will be justified in complaining about mining not benefiting them, Dr Aubynn told The Finder in a telephone interview.

The interview was in connection with an end-of-year review of mining activities from the perspective of the Chamber.

Stakeholders at a Resource Nationalism Forum in November called for a review of the mining laws to ensure that a good amount of mining royalties are allocated to develop mining communities.

The forum was under the auspices of the Chamber.

Most mining communities such as Prestea, Tarkwa, Huni Valley, and Bogoso in the Western Region lie in shambles, with residents living in despair.

The current mining law mandates only 5% to be given to communities in mining areas.

Beyond what mining companies give to mining communities in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the local people ought to benefit directly from mining.

It was thus high time the country reconsidered the mining regime and effected some changes so that we can see significant changes in the lives of people living close to mines as they can then benefit from development projects backed by money, or money backed by projects.

Dr Aubynn expressed concern over the erroneous impression of many, including the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA), about the industry.

The mining sector has been seen as a cash cow because almost every MMDA in this country tries to find a way of regulating mining, he said

According to him, they try to regulate mining in their jurisdictions by asking companies to pay fees and other charges, ostensibly to generate funds.

Dr Aubynn reiterated misconceptions about the industry as the topmost challenge facing the industry.

The industry is still misunderstood by many because they keep saying that nothing or too little is coming from mining meanwhile government gets 27% of its internal revenue from mining and 43% of foreign exchange from mining so why would anybody say we are not getting anything from mining? he said.

The mining industry, he noted, had not been without its challenges this year.

The price of gold, the economys number-one export earner, has slumped by more than 30% this year, and the cedi has depreciated by more than 4%, weighed down by strong foreign exchange demand and the fall in commodity prices.

With rising costs of production, mining companies were compelled to review their plans, with some of them carrying out massive retrenchment of workers.

According to the Ghana Mine Workers Union, over 3,000 workers have been laid off by the country's mining companies due to the fall in the world market price for gold.
Source: The Finder

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