The Ghana Chamber of Mines is advocating a specific policy to increase royalties returned by government to mining communities from nine per cent to 30 per cent.
The Chamber indicated that the increment should be tied to specific projects over a period of time.
Dr Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines disclosed this during an interaction with journalists in the Western Region at the Regional Press centre in Takoradi.
He indicated that despite the declining gold prices on the world market, the mining sector remains the highest contributor to Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) domestic collections.
The mining sector contributed about GH¢1.46 billion to GRA, representing 27.04 percent of the Authority’s total direct tax in 2012.
The sector also paid an amount of GH¢893.77 million in corporate tax to GRA in 2012, representing 36.98 percent of the total GRA tax collected within the period.
He noted that mining companies returned about 3.2 billion dollars, representing 73 percent of their mineral revenue through the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the commercial banks in 2012 as against the statutory requirement of a minimum of 25 percent.
According to Dr. Aubynn, the sector voluntarily contributed about GH¢26 million to its host communities and the general public, adding that the companies engaged 21,239 people directly out of which 334, representing two percent, were expatriate workers.
Dr. Aubynn said Ghana’s cash cost for gold production in 2012 was 809 dollars per ounce compared to the global average cash cost of 744 dollars per ounce.
“Global cost of gold production was up to 11.4 percent from 1,079 dollars per ounce in 2011 to 1,202 dollars per ounce,” he said.
This, Dr Aubynn explained, reflected a higher rate of increase in total cost of gold production relative to the appreciation in average gold price of 6.2 per cent over the same period.
He called on government to encourage Ghanaians to invest in the mining sector.
Dr. Aubynn mentioned that most schools in the mining communities were either built or maintained by the mining companies.
He revealed that between 2006 and 2008, the mining industry contributed over $3.5 million to the education sector of the country.