Ghana Mineworkers Union takes stock of mining industry

General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU), Prince William Ankrah, says the 4000 employees who were made redundant in 2013 by mining firms could have been avoided.

He says the captains of industry could have ensured prudent spending in areas such as procurement, new mines acquisition through mergers and acquisitions as well as reckless spending on expatriates, who, in his view, often add nothing new to the industry.

“We, however, take consolation in the fact that in recent times the Minerals Commission has step up the implementation of the localization policy in its regulations in the industry stem the growing tide on the expatriation issue,” stated Prince Ankrah, at the Union’s National Executive Council Meeting held in Tarkwa.

According to Prince Ankrah, the Union has, in two different resolutions, underscored the urgent need for the establishment of a Mining Community Development Fund into which 25% of mining receipt would be lodged to fund the much anticipated and awaited infrastructure in these communities.

“We are mindful of the provisions in the Constitution of Ghana and the Minerals and Mining Act (2006 Act 703) which vest all minerals in the President who hold it in trust for all the people of Ghana. However, we do think that we have failed to ensure the effective utilization of our mining receipt to the benefit of the host communities,” stated Prince Ankrah. “The current royalty apportionment to the district assemblies and the traditional authorities need a rethinking to ensure its judicious use”.

The GMWU is also eager to know the outcome of the Professor Akilakpa Sawyer’s Committee instituted by government and tasked to review and make recommendations to government on the various contractual regimes our country has with the mining companies.

National Chairman, Mensah Kwarko Gyakari says some mining companies want to take advantage of the current challenges in the industry to exploit workers.

He is particularly unhappy with the decision of Newmont Gold Ghana Limited to entrench about 600 workers “with impunity”, though the company’s financial outlook depicts it is in good financial standing.

The NEC would take a decision on the posture of Newmont, he stated.

Other concerns of the Union include the reconstruction of the Western Rail line to ease haulage of bauxite and manganese deposits in the Awaso and Nsuta areas to the Takoradi Port.

“This, we believe, would expand the activities of the companies, impact on government revenue and provide employment to the youth in the communities,” observed the GMWU General Secretary.

Prince Ankrah announces the Union has initiated a process to partner the University of Mines in Tarkwa to research and offer concrete direction into the sustainable future of the mining economies.

The GMWU’s 70th anniversary would be commemorated under the theme “70 Years of Playing a Progressive Role to Promote a Just and Equitable Society”. The main celebration would however be a year belated ostensibly due to the current turbulence in both the industry and the country.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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