The Western Regional Minister, and Member of Parliament for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah has lauded government for the establishment of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) adding that it would complement their quest to ensuring the region’s natural resource endowments translate into economic fortunes for their people.
Speaking at the opening of the 2022 Ghana Mining Week Celebration held at the Best Western Plus Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi, the Minister said “it has been the aspiration of the people to see this Region’s natural resource endowments translate into economic fortunes. Hence, we have made a conscious effort to push for our people to legitimately own the productive assets, necessary to exploit these resources and to retain the gains thereof.
It is on this note that I see the coming on board of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) as a complementary step to what we have been advocating for over the period. He indicated further that the MIIF, through its Small-Scale Mining Incubation Programme is building capacities of small scale and community mining ventures and offering financial models (for equipment financing) which traditionally are difficult for the small- scale miners to access.
“With all these investments and commitment on the part of Government, I can confidently say that, in the nearest future, size will be the only criterion to differentiate between large- and small-scale mines, and that, all other things such as Mining Practices, Safety, Recovery, Sale and Sourcing of Minerals will be the same for both”, he added. He said the Western Region is better placed to serve as the headquarters for responsible mining and mining related activities, and hopes to see this realized through increased private sector involvement in the form of direct investment, exploration financing, research and technology transfer.
Dr Darko-Mensah asserts that both the 2020 Ghana Gold Expo and the 2021 Mining Week, succeeded in depicting the mining industry as a formidable sector for long term economic growth especially, with a firmer regulatory framework and increasing formalization. “We therefore look to the day the District Mining Committees would be re-activated so that the licensing protocols are shortened to enable more control of the illegality in the Sector.”
He expressed gratitude that the government demonstrated commitment through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to formalize the Small -Scale Mining Sector, by reactivating six (6) out of the twelve (12) District Mining Committees – Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Prestea- Huni Valley, Wassa East, Wassa Amenfi East, West and Central.
Mr Minister told the gathering that on the issue of Ghana Gold Brand and Certification, Gold Coast Refinery is currently undergoing the certification programme with Responsible Jewelry Council, an affiliate of London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and that a full training session will be conducted on responsible sourcing and certification for bankers, financiers, miners, traders and value chain actors in the mining industry.
He called on the Ghanaian/African Technology Community to rise to ensure that, “those who do not produce gold, do not as well, control the entire value chain by designing a technology (the creation of which) we are not part of. We all know what that will mean to us in Africa.” On safety, Dr. Darko-Mensah asserts that ensuring safer mining environment remains one of the core values for which the Gold Expo (Mining Week) was instituted, and without doubt, we can assuredly say we have made great strides as far as this core value is concerned.
“It was, however, unfortunate that, while we were consolidating our gains, and forging ahead, we were hit with the unfortunate “Appiatse Explosion” incident on that fateful Thursday, 20th January, 2022. May I use this opportunity to commiserate with the families of the departed souls and to wish the injured a speedy recovery”.
The 2022 Ghana Mining Week
The 2022 Ghana Mining Week on the theme: “The Potential of Mining For Sustainable Development” seeks “togetherness in mining”; thus providing a platform for accredited stakeholders (local, national and international) to dialogue on tackling the most critical environmental issues, adopting the evolving Government policies on mineral resources extraction, boosting investor interest and promoting responsible and safe mining among others.
Views will be collated and Action Plans produced to drive a regional-based commitment towards an accelerated mine tailing development and sustainability of the mineral resources via risk mitigation and turning challenges into opportunities. The focus of this year’s Ghana Mining Week has been broadened to include all the sixteen (16) mineral resources of the nation including mica, salt, clay, kaolin, columbite -tantalite, feldspar, chrome, silica sand, quartz, lime, lithium, iron ore, along with the traditional minerals such as diamonds, manganese and bauxite to ensure that the country derives the needed benefits from all of these.