Supporting Ghana's Sustainable Mineral Resources

African Business, May 2016 | Go to article overview

Supporting Ghana's Sustainable Mineral Resources


MINING IS ONE OF THE PRE-EMINENT industries in Ghana. Prior to its independence, Europeans who explored the West African coast named it the "Gold Coast," a testament to the wealth of mineral resources available to the country. Mining is thus one of the most established economic sectors, host to a vast number of global players and a key pillar of the Ghanaian economy. Despite the discovery of oil, gold remains the top earner for the country.

The minerals sector in Ghana thus remains one of the safest investment bets. Minerals exploited in Ghana on an industrial scale include diamond, granite, limestone/ dolomite, gravels and silica sand. Others are feldspar, kaolin, marble and salt.

It is the government's policy to diversify the exploitation of its mineral resources base from the traditional minerals like gold, diamonds, bauxite and manganese to include the exploitation of industrial minerals which could promote effective linkages in the economy and reduce the current over-reliance on imported substitutes.

The industry operates under the objectives of the National Mining and Minerals Policy. The core aim of the Mining and Minerals Policy is to: "Conserve and sustain the development of the nations mineral resources and the maintenance of the environment."

The market

The minerals extractive industry currently has 13 large-scale mining companies, over 300 registered small scale mining groups and 99 support service companies.

While commodity prices--gold in particular--have fallen from 2011-12 highs, precious metals are set for a rally. Local challenges in the shape of illegal mining are also set to abate as government steps up its efforts to rein in the practice.

Mining and minerals policy objectives

* Ensuring that Ghana's mineral endowment is managed on a sustainable economic, social and environmental basis and that there is an equitable sharing of the financial and developmental benefits of mining between investors and all Ghanaian stakeholders

* Encouraging local and foreign private sector participation in the exploration for, and commercial exploitation of mineral resources, consistent with the government's commitment to a free-market enterprise economy.

* The government recognises that private sector investors need to be able to operate profitably, be internationally competitive and satisfy their shareholders' and employees' expectations

To this end, the government will establish and maintain the following:

* A conducive macro-economic environment for mining investment

* A stable regulatory environment that provides for the transparent and even-handed treatment of investors

* A stable, competitive and fair fiscal regime

* Achieve a socially acceptable balance between mining and the physical and human environment, and ensure that internationally accepted standards of health, mining safety and environmental protection are observed by all participants in the mining sector.

* Encourage and facilitate orderly and sustainable development of small-scale mining. There is considerable potential for small-scale minerals exploitation in Ghana and the government recognises that small scale mining can provide additional or alternative livelihoods in rural areas and can help to foster the development of Ghanaian mining skills, entrepreneurship and capital.

* Empower Ghanaians to become professional miners, mine managers and owners by maximising opportunities for minerals-related education, training, career development and other support.

* Develop streamlined and effective institutional arrangements for the mining sector, together with an adequate capacity to promote, authorise, monitor and regulate mining operations.

* Endow Ghanaian mining authorities with the capacities to gather, analyse and disseminate geo-data necessary for the promotion of minerals sector investment. …

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