Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor,, has reiterated the government’s commitment to safeguarding the concessions of licensed large-scale mining companies by implementing comprehensive security measures to protect their operations.
Speaking at the Mining for Development Forum on Tuesday, the Lands Minister called for a strong government and mining companies collaboration to ensure effective protection of the concessions. Speaking on the theme: “Ensuring the Security of Operations in Ghana; The Role of Stakeholders,” Mr Jinapor noted that the fortunes of the large-scale mining firms had a direct bearing on the government’s economic programmes.
“It is only when your concessions are secured that we can work to optimise production, and sustain the gains we have made over the years.”
He said ensuring the security of mining operations was not only the duty of Government but required a multi-stakeholder approach and a shared commitment from all stakeholders, including Government, mining companies, mining communities, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, academia, multilateral organisations, development partners, among others.
He said, “It is through such a collaborative approach that we can develop comprehensive strategies to address all security issues from project inception, through exploration and mine development to mine closure.”
He urged the mining companies to support Government in the implementation of the community mining Scheme, including making available land for it.
“It is not about confiscating mining concessions and parcelling them out to communities for mining. Nor is it about pitching foreign investors against citizens. It is about equitable distribution of resources from the mining industry, and ensuring that communities that host these resources benefit from their exploitation.”
He said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was working with the Ministries of National Security and Defence to ensure adequate protection for operations of members acquiring concessions that extend beyond the country’s borders.
“Let us harness our collective expertise, passion, and commitment to build a mining sector that not only generates wealth but also ensures the well-being of our people, protects our environment, and promotes sustainable development,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Miners, Dr Sulemana Koney, said the forum would come out with measures to ensure the protection of concessions and contributing to the community and country development. He commended the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the leadership of Hon.
Samuel A. Jinapor for its consistent efforts in seeking to address the teething challenges of the large-scale mining firms. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Miners, Dr Sulemana Koney, in his welcome address, underscored the importance of mining in Ghana’s economy and the significant contribution to growth and development through direct domestic taxes, dividend payments and forex exchange.
He said the producing member companies of the Chamber continued to play a crucial role in deepening the forex exchange market through the repatriation of a significant part of their mineral export revenue.
In 2022, the producing mines returned US$ 1.41 billion through the central bank and US$ 2.73 billion via commercial banks. Overall, the repatriated gross mineral revenue was US$ 4.14 billion, which translates into 73% of the producing members’ total mineral revenue in 2022.
He said recent invasions and attacks on defensive workers had created a sense of debilitating insecurity.
“When a mine is unsecured, it does not only threaten continuous production but the livelihood of the ecosystem that depends on the mine: communities, government, suppliers, employees, and shareholders,” he said.
He said the inability of duty bearers to decisively quell the wanton breach of security at one mine serves as an incentive for other miscreants to perpetrate similar brazen disregard for the rule of law.
“This inertia partly fuels the deteriorating security climate at the mines with adverse consequences for all stakeholders. These hikes in security breaches impair the quality of mine assets in Ghana and raise the insurance premia, cost of credit, and replacement cost of equipment,” he said.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Joshua Mortoti, President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the apathy and apparent lack of decisive action by the authorities in the face of incessant and growing attacks on mine employees and assets created the perception that mining companies should be their own keepers.
He emphasized that the mining companies were not against creating jobs for Ghanaians in the sector, but committed to socially and environmentally responsible and safe mining.
Mr Mortoti called for continuous to collaborate to ensure that our mining laws and regulations are enforced by all players in the sector, irrespective of nationality.
The Forum was attended by the Deputy Minister responsible for Mining, George Mireku Duker, the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko, President of the Central House of Chiefs, Odeefuo Amoakwa Buadu, players and captains of the Mining Industry, and some security personnel, among others.