Government has begun discussions with mining companies in Ghana, especially those engaged in the mining of gold, to ensure that the country derives the maximum revenue from the exploitation of natural resources.
The Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), which is mandated by law to assay all minerals mined in Ghana, is also gearing up to acquire the necessary equipment and resources to undertake its duty.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia made the disclosure when he gave the keynote address at the ongoing Regional Conference on “Fiscal Management of Mining and Petroleum [Resources] in West Africa” in Accra on Tuesday February 27, 2018.
The Conference is being hosted by the Africa and Fiscal Affairs Departments of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with participants drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania, as well as senior officials of the IMF.
Ghana’s mining laws stipulate that the PMMC assays the gold and other minerals mined in the country but the major mining firms have for years been assaying gold mined from their mines by themselves before export. While the companies have not been accused of any wrong doing, Government believes the institution of state mandated to undertake this critical task must be appropriately resourced to discharge its duty.
“It is simply not acceptable that for a very long time an institution of state with the powers to help in properly accounting for our mineral resources was not enabled nor allowed to perform its job. This has to change. I know of a bauxite mining company that over the last five years has paid no dividends to government because it claims it has made no profits yet it continues to mine vigorously. This cannot be right.
“Thankfully we have now begun conversations about the process of making sure that every single bar of gold leaving our shores is properly weighed, tested, valued, and accounted for.
“While the process may not be as robust as we want, it is a positive step in the right direction and we are impressed with the collaboration between the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company in making sure we expedite the full spectrum of accounting for our gold resources,” Dr Bawumia noted.
The Vice President urged the Conference attendees to deliberate on a number of areas militating against resource rich countries, including revenue leakages by means of improper accounting for resources, locking out of resource-rich countries from the high-value ends of value chains, limited local content and the lack of full participation of local businesses in resource industries, and growing revelations of illicit financial flows through ‘external accounts’ and mispricing of trade transactions, indicating that they go a long way to deprive ordinary citizen of the full benefits of their natural resources.
“I would also like you to consider during your deliberations the difference between the contracts in the oil and mining sectors. In the oil sector for example, for a 100 barrels of oil drilled, per the contract, we know what Ghana’s share is. This is not the case for a 100 tonnes of gold mined. Why should there be such a difference?” the Vice President quizzed.