Jerry Ahadzi, a Principal Officer at the Minerals Commission, has urged graduates in Ghana to form consortium and venture into small-scale mining.
According to him, ‘If graduates will form a consortium of companies, then they can do the right things in the small-scale mining sector because most of those engaged in small-scale mining now are illiterates.’
He said ‘graduates can mine systematically and they will not degrade the environment and by so doing will be encouraging local content and all the proceeds will stay in the country’.
Speaking at a two-day extractives training programme for the media, he said graduates know the value of the resource and therefore will not be motivated to sell off their licences, adding that ‘after some years of operation, they can also grow into big mining companies.’
The programme was organized by Journalists for Business Advocacy.
Mr. Ahadzi said small-scale mining is reserved for Ghanaians according to law, stating that more than 90 percent of mining licenses which have been granted in Ghana presently have been given to Ghanaian-owned mining companies.
However, he bemoaned the inability of young geology, mining engineering, surveying, minerals processing graduates to form consortium to take advantage of the sector.
‘The small-scale mining is not so capital intensive. About GH¢10,000 can start a mining operation. Local mining companies pay about 10 percent of what foreign companies pay in terms of licencing fees,’ Ahadzi said.
The Director of Tax Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Ghana Limited, George Kwatia, in a remark, said concentrating the discussion of taxes paid by mining companies only to corporate income tax (CIT), is unfair, arguing that mining companies pay all manner of taxes through exploration to closure including taxes for their employees, value-added tax (VAT) and withholding taxes, among others.
By Cephas Larbi