Business News of Saturday, 14 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The government is in the process of weeding out speculators who have held on to viable concessions for a long time without developing them, to pave the way for serious investments in the minerals and mining sector.
A moratorium was imposed on new applications for gold exploration last year but that had long expired, hence the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is cleaning the concession map to eliminate waste in the system.
The sector minister, Nii Osah Mills, who made a presentation on the state of Ghana’s minerals and mining sector last Tuesday at the Mining Indaba Conference currently underway in Cape Town, South africa, said the weeding out exercise was progressing and expected to be completed in three months to make available viable concessions in the sector.
He told delegates that the government was committed to ensuring a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the sector and that a comprehensive review of the mining fiscal and regulatory regime had been carried out to ensure, among others, predictability and stability of fiscal incentives over time and international competitiveness.
The minister, who touted Ghana’s credentials in mining and its related fields to the international community, said over the last few years, the country produced more than four million ounces of gold per annum but decried the absence of large-scale refineries in the country.
“There is clearly an opportunity in this regard, and investors are welcome to establish a major gold-refining facility in Ghana with the potential to serve other gold-producing countries within the sub-region,” Nii Mills said.
He added that Ghana produced significant volumes of bauxite and manganese which were exported without any value addition and said it was the government’s policy, going forward, that exploration of the rest of the bauxite and manganese deposits would be linked to value addition.
Turning the spotlight on diversification to help forestall the fall in commodity prices, Nii Mills said to ensure that the economy did not suffer setbacks as a result of further weak gold prices, the government’s policy was to diversify its minerals production base.
He, therefore, invited investors to investigate further, recently discovered minerals such as cobalt, zinc, copper, nickel, uranium and chromite, for which areas investment was urgently required.
The minister said in addition to investment opportunities in those areas, there was a pool of highly skilled mining personnel in the country to provide services to the industry, adding that “all this makes Ghana the obvious destination of choice for mining sector investment”.