Ms Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, has urged stakeholders in the mining sector to develop a comprehensive local content framework to reduce conflict, tension and dissatisfaction to ensure equity and fairness in the industry.
She said the local content policy should look at all the activities in the mining sector and the various goods and services that go with them, such as the mining supply chain business, to ensure a more positive impact of the industry on the economy.
Ms Tetteh was speaking at the opening of the Mining Exhibition and Networking Forum 2009, organized by the Ghana Chamber of Mines, in Accra.
The three-day exhibition and forum, which is on the theme: “Mining and Sustainable Development: Meeting Intergenerational Challenges” is to ensure that operators in the mining industry take into consideration the needs of the future generations.
Ms Tetteh said the Ministry’s policy of adding value to local products would be deepened and promoted under its industrial policy document, currently under preparation.
She said the policy would offer incentives and create conducive environment for the private sector to invest in gold refinery as well as venture into the jewellery business.
Ms Tetteh encouraged investors to enter into the production of mining implements locally to adhere to the policy of introducing local content into the industry. She stated that, two companies in Tema, would soon start the production of steel balls and that this would be extended to the production of other inputs for the mining industry.
Ms Tetteh also advised the mining companies to replant on the reclaimed degraded land and set up bamboo and oil palm plantations to replace the lost forest. She said the bamboo and the oil palm industry can produce assorted products that could help improve the livelihood of the communities.
Ms Joyce R. Aryee, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said contrary to public perception, the mining sector returned $2.30 billion representing 63 per cent of mineral revenue through the Bank of Ghana as well as the commercial banks in 2008.
She said out of this amount, six per cent was paid to government both at the national and district levels in the form of royalties and taxes, ten percent was paid to the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana for electric power purchase and 13 per cent was paid to local oil marketing companies for diesel fuel purchases.
She said another four percent of the mineral revenue was paid as taxes, levies and duties on fuel products to government.
Ms Aryee said the mining industry had been consciously increasing the quantum of local inputs in its operations for some time now. She said in 2008 alone, mineral producing member companies of the chamber procured 47 per cent of inputs and 71 per cent of consumables locally.
She said the promotion of local content in mining operations was not just a social responsibility activity but also a direct response to Section 105 of the Minerals and Mining Law 2006, Act 703.
Ms Aryee also said the Chamber of Mines does not condone unregulated mining and would not aid any persons in this act.
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