xxxxxxxxxxx of Tuesday, 18 June 2019
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has urged the Minerals Commission to enforce the local content law in the mining industry.
He said the commission also needed to build the capacity of local people to actively participate in the mining sector.
“As a country, it is about time we made deliberate and conscious efforts at developing our own to become billionaires and the mining sector, especially, is where the prospects are for now.
I, therefore, implore you to look beyond the local content policy of employment creation and fashion new policies that will develop and grow Ghanaians to become owners of giant mines in the country,’’ President Kufuor added.
The former President made the remarks when members of the Minerals Commission Board paid a courtesy call on him at his residence in Accra.
Touching on the illegal mining menace, he advocated a national forum to sensitise the people to the extent of devastation illegal mining had on the country’s environment.
President Kufuor further called for a new approach to appropriately deal with the menace, since the use of force had not been successful.
The former President proposed that the commission should explore further the mining concession ‘blocked out areas’ concept where interested small-scale miners were registered as cooperatives and licensed within a concession area.
He said by that approach, their activities could be checked and monitored to conform to the mining law and best practices.
The Board Chairman of the commission, Mr S. K. Boafo, gave an assurance that members would deliberate further on the former President’s advice and fashion policies and modalities to address the challenges in the mining industry.
He said since its inauguration, the board had worked to transform the mining sector.
“Ghana was recently ranked the number one producer of Gold in Africa.
Also, prospecting activities are currently underway in the Central Region around Saltpond and Mankessim for commercial quantities of lithium, a mineral which is expected to play a key role in the energy transition in the production of batteries for electrical vehicles and equipment,” he added.
Mr Boafo said the commission had also adopted oil palm as a sustainable livelihood project in mining communities such as Dunkwa-Ayanfuri in the Central Region and parts of the Eastern Region.
“The community members are supplied with oil palm seedlings for free to venture into oil palm production and this is having positive impact on them,” he said.