The Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemanu Koney has eulogized Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah for envisioning a minerals sector that adds value to its output through the establishment of the Volta Aluminum Company, VALCO and a refinery.

He expressed worry about the fact that a refinery project started by Kweame Nkrumah at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to ensure value addition to Ghana’s mineral resources was abandoned by subsequent governments.

Mr Koney expressed these sentiments when he addressed members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at a Day’s workshop in Accra which was on the theme “ Reporting On The Mining Sector; What The Reporter Needs To Know’’.

The Acting CEO was not pleased with the substitution of the mineral sector-led economy under Nkrumah with what he described as “an inordinate focus on taxation in the post Nkrumah era’’ and called on government to fully integrate the sector in to the larger economy to catalyze industrial development.

Mr Sulemanu Koney urged government to diversify the country`s minerals portfolio to other areas such as kaolin, lime, stone, salt. Marble, iron ore and other minerals that are have proven reserves.

He emphasized the need for an increased investment in the downstream mineral sector to curb the over-reliance on imported inputs such as caustic soda in the production process.

“… the central government and other state advocates of mining such as the Minerals Commission, pursue deliberate, systematic and aggressive policies to channel Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into non-gold mineral’’ he stated.

According to Mr Koney, producing members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines spent $341 million between 2009 and 2013 on the importation of caustic soda alone which could be produce locally to ease the pressure on the domestic currency.

The Chamber appealed to the three arms of government to expedite action on the ratification of the minerals rights s required by law.

Despite the challenges, the minerals industry continues to be the mainstay of the country`s economy in terms of contribution to forex, FDI and national revenue.

According to the Bank of Ghana, the minerals sector consisting of only four minerals; gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese is responsible for 37.6% of the country`s earnings from merchandize exports in 2013.

The sector also contributed GHc 1.1 billion representing 18.5% of total direct tax revenue in 2013 according to the Ghana Revenue Authority whilst the volume of FDI in the mineral sector increased by 15.4% to $ 1,54 million in 2012.

Members of the parliamentary press corps were lectured on topics including the Role of the Ghana Chamber of Mines in the mining sector, role of the Minerals Commission in ensuring transparency, Fulfillment of contracts and level playing field in the sector and the Background, Government Policies and current status of the mining industry in the country by officials from the chamber, the minerals Commission and the Ministry and Lands and Natural Resources.

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