About 500 mining exploration projects mainly targeted at gold, lithium, copper and cobalt are currently ongoing in various parts of the country, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel AbdulaiJinapor, has disclosed.
According to him, the exploration projects were expected to increase in the coming years following recent geological investigations which revealed viable prospects for iron ore, nickel, zinc, chromium, lead and columbite-tantalite.
To this end, he noted that, the government was focused on translating the volumes of minerals production into wealth to benefit all Ghanaians and stakeholders equitably.
Mr Jinapor was speaking yesterday at Perth, Australia during this year’s edition of the Africa Down Under (ADU) Conference.
The conference provides a platform for engagement on matters pertaining to the mining industry, and geared towards strengthening Australian-African relationship in the industry.
“Our policy for the development of these minerals is to pursue a path that fosters optimal socio-economic development, through effectively and efficiently exploiting and managing Ghana’s green minerals, and contributing positively to dealing with the climate change phenomena, working towards the net zero emission target, and collaborating with other relevant stakeholders in employing climate-friendly technologies and practices, to achieve the maximum developmental impact for the country.
“We are, therefore, committed to work with all stakeholders to retain the full value chain of these ‘minerals of the future’ in our country by adding value to the minerals mined,” the Minister noted.
Presently, he said there were 15 large scale mining operations in the country, with 13 of them producing gold while the other two produce manganese and bauxite.
In this regard, the government, he said, was implementing mining-friendly policies to sustain the achievements chalked in the sector while ensuring environmental sustainability, and protecting the interest of both Ghanaians and investors.
“Anchored on this business-friendly environment, the government continues to adopt policies to improve transparency in the industry, beneficiation and value addition, upstream and side-stream linkages, and to ensure a win-win situation for both investors and Ghana,” he stated.
Within the past few years, Mr Jinapor said government had prioritised improving the business environment through regulatory reforms to reduce bureaucracies and bottlenecks associated with doing business in the country.
He noted that the introduction of a Mineral Cadastral Administration System (MCAS) had helped to improve mineral licensing administration.
“This system, together with the online application for mineral rights, improved access to information and transparency in administration, has improved the ease of doing business in the mining industry in Ghana,” he stated.
Additionally, the Minister said Ghana’s laws with provided stability clauses that insulate investors from changes in laws and policies after the acquisition of their mineral rights; respect for the sanctity of contracts and accrued rights; exemption from the payment of import duties for plants and machinery imported for mineral operations; and transferability of capital were aimed at enhancing investor friendly environment in the mining sector.
Further to that, he stated that the country’s stable political climate, spanning 30 years, had assured investors of the protection of their rights, regardless of the outcome of national elections.
He, therefore, called for investment in mine support services, including contract mining, drilling and blasting, equipment supply, and assay laboratory.
Mr Jinapor said government was working towards adding value to the country’s traditional minerals, and ensuring that they have adequate linkages to the other sectors of the economy through the establishment of a gold refinery as well as the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC), to promote and develop integrated aluminium and iron and steel industries.
In line with government’s plan to make Ghana a mining hub, he said the government was keen to engage industry players and other resource-rich countries build the right and strategic partnerships and make new discoveries and innovations and assured investors of ease of access to geological information, good mining governance institutions, and highly skilled mining personnel.