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Stop Looting Nation’s Mineral Resources- Dr Aubynn   
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Dr Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, has denounced the loot of the nation’s minerals resources by foreign nationals through the active connivance of some well-placed and influential people.

He said everybody, including public officials and chiefs would need to do some soul-searching and finally take an uncompromising position to act together in the best interest of the country.

They should accept to work together to ensure that Ghana derived optimal benefits from its gold deposits and other natural resources.

Dr Aubynn was speaking at the inauguration of the Obuasi Gold Buyers Association at Obuasi.

He noted that for the year 2013 for example, small-scale mining accounted for 34 per cent (1.4 million ounces) of the total gold production, but the bitter truth was that not all that was sold through the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC).

He said the Commission would go to every length to fight this and hinted of the introduction of radical changes including a new legislation to make it mandatory for every ounce of gold produced by small-scale miners to be sold only through the PMMC.

There would also be different licenses for those engaged in artisanal and small-scale mining as well as the creation of another level of mining – medium scale-mining, where foreigners could be brought in but only as minority shareholders.

He said to effectively regulate the operation of small-scale miners, and to make sure that dug pits were not left uncovered, all excavators were going to be registered and fixed with tracking devices to track those being used for mining.

Mr George Abradu-Otoo, Managing Director of the PMMC, expressed discomfort with what he said was the increasing control over the internal gold trade by the Indians and the Chinese in clear breach of the law.

He insisted that the business of “buying and selling of gold” should exclusively be in the hands of Ghanaians and questioned why foreigners should determine the price of gold.

That, he said, was unlawful and completely unacceptable and therefore welcomed the formation of the association, which he said would speak with a strong voice.

Mr. Joseph Yamin, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, said Ghanaians should own and work in mining concessions, to bring in more foreign exchange to strengthen the value of the local currency.

Agyaba Kwame Afriyie, Chief Executive of Agyaba Jewelry in Kumasi, asked the buyers to be honest in their business dealings.

The Secretary of the Association, Mr Valentine Opara, said their goal was to promote a highly secured business environment, by cooperating with the appropriate state institutions.
Source: GNA

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