Graphic Business News

Mining, metal companies urged • To capitalise on natural resources to foster development

By: Gifty Owusu Kwarteng
Some Stakeholders during the meeting
Some Stakeholders during the meeting

A fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), Mr Henry Antwi, has urged mining and metal companies to capitalise on the vast resource potential of Ghana to advance mineral-based industrialisation by adopting leading practices to resource the government and sustainability.

He explained that developing countries such as Ghana continued to face challenges in managing the exploitation of their resources by not being able to transform their resource wealth into value-added projects meant to promote sustained development and create jobs.

“I think lack of policy implementation, lack of adequate infrastructure, inadequate specialised skills and technology and scarcity of domestic capital are factors that have accounted for these challenges,” he said.

At the Second Quarter (Q2) meeting of the Accra Mining Network (AMN) on May 31 in Accra, Mr Antwi stated that in order for Ghana to be competitive in the mining and metals sector, there was the need to make strides towards macroeconomic stabilisation and initiate in-country value addition to drive sustainable growth. That, he said, would allow the country to take advantage of technological innovation and managerial capabilities.

He subsequently encouraged industry players to play their part in channelling the nation’s vast expertise in mining by emphasising the need to identify areas along the value chain in the sector to promote sustainable development and increase job creation.

Touting investment opportunities for the mining sector, Mr Antwi disclosed a model that emphasised investors’ concerns on the quality of Ghana’s rail and port infrastructure that were necessary for competitive Free-on-Board costs and called on the government to expedite infrastructural development to boost investor confidence.

 He stressed on investment attractiveness by stating that a number of initiatives, including developing policies that were sufficiently competitive in a global context, ease and transparency of doing business and access to continuously updated geo-scientific data, would ensure effective implementation of policies for systematic inclusion of locally sourced mine inputs, local personnel and services in the procurement and employment activities of mining companies.

He, however, called for the improvement of the country’s mineral cadastre to increase transparency in the management of mineral resources, simplifying regulatory approvals, minimising administrative bureaucracies in the granting of mining licence, removing political influence in granting mining licence, benchmarking Ghana’s policies with mineral-endowed countries and enhancing competitiveness.

“In manoeuvring for the development of mineral-based value addition, there should be assessment of available mineral resources, delineation of value-addition potential per commodity and assessment of the global and regional supply-demand and price dynamics, addressable markets and competitive landscape,” he added.

Value creation 
The Chief of Natural Resource Management Session, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr Kojo Busia, stressed the need for value-addition creation in the mining sector.

He explained that there was absolutely no justification that a country such as Ghana had been mining gold for over a century but still lacked the opportunities for linkages in the upstream value addition, particularly in the area of mining.

 “The potential for the mining sector in Ghana to serve as a catalyst for economic industrialisation and diversification has not been sufficiently exploited, hence the need to improve on these potentials,” he said.

He indicated that considering the mining sector’s input, “you realise that most of these inputs are largely imported into the country; therefore, the real value for having a supply chain has not been tapped”.

He called on industry players to scale up their supply chain in the sector to add value to the country’s resources to meet the local content policy demand to create more employment.

He stated that despite all the challenges the sector faced, there was more that could be done explicitly to support the sector to be able to scale up its value addition in terms of actually creating value.