The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah- Cheremeh has said it is time for industry to partner government to help transform mining as a catalyst for industrialisation in the country.
He said beyond gold, there were other significant but untapped minerals deposits in the country that can be successfully exploited to diversify the economy, hence the need for the partnership.
“Beyond gold, Ghana has other significant but untapped mineral deposits. The time has come for industry players to partner government to adopt strategies that will not only exploit these resources but also transform mining into a catalyst for the industrialisation and diversification of Ghana’s economy,” he said.
He was speaking in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Naana Eyiah at the 12th Quadrennial delegates conference of the Ghana Mineworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress Ghana (TUCG) on December 10.
The conference was on the theme, “Celebrating 75years: The contribution of the mineworker to the socio -economic development of Ghana”.
Mr Asomah- Cheremeh said government believed that the pursuit of resource-based industrialisation and economic transformation through broadening the framework of local content strategies would lead to wider growth and transformation.
He said government remained committed to optimising the stages of the mining value chain through policy reforms with the objective of ensuring growth and profitability for the industry, for investors, host communities as well as the country at large.
He added that from the outset of exploration through development to the mining phase, both government and investors need to adopt strategies to minimise cost and environmental impacts while optimising sustainability in the context of the rapid evolution of technology around us.
He said government was committed to engage industry stakeholders to ensure that the expatriate complement of labour consistently reduces through capacity building and skills transfer. Conscious efforts need to be made to transfer technology and build local capacity.
He also urged the organisers to use the conference to discuss how the country can leverage its resources for optimal socio-economic growth and development for the benefit of the populace.
“This is the surest way to take out people out of poverty,” he said.
The General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress Ghana (TUCG), Mr Prince William Ankrah said the Union was formed in 1944 to fight for improved and decent working conditions, vibrant commercial and strong mining communities among others.
He said the journey has not been smooth, 75 years down the line, citing the ugly picture in dysfunctional mining communities such as Bibiani, Akwaatia and others.
“The trend obviously needs a rethinking in respect of the future of mining townships. We can learn from other countries such as South Africa, Australia and the United States of America. The history of California is indeed a choice to emulate,” he said.
Mr Ankrah explained that the picture painted required concerted efforts to ensure that everyone benefited from mining.
“The miner must earn enough to save for a rainy day and afford a decent pension. We must commit to the noble agenda of social dialogue and honest partnerships,” he said.