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Ghana building an integrated and inclusive gold industry, says Bawumia

The vice-president says the move is aimed at increasing the value Ghana derives from its raw materials

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says the government is putting in a lot of measures to stimulate job creation in an integrated and inclusive manner throughout the entire gold mining value chain.

He said this integrated and inclusive chain will bring together large scale, small scale, sustainable community miners as well as other stakeholders such as refiners, purchasers and sellers of jewellery in an effort aimed at increasing the value Ghana derives from its raw materials.

The vice president was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Ghana Gold Expo 2021 (Ghana Mining Week ’21), a mining policy forum, in Takoradi on Thursday 1 July 2021. 

Speaking on the challenges in the mining sector and measures being put in place to address them, Vice-President Bawumia said, “It is well-known that the rise in illegal mining has, no doubt, been fueled not only by unemployment but also by the desire of the average community members to have a feel of the minerals.

“In this regard, the government is putting in a lot of measures to stimulate job creation in an integrated and inclusive manner throughout the entire gold mining value chain.”

He said, “I am reliably informed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources that 20 Community Mining Schemes have begun, each employing about 3,000 persons. We expect to have a hundred such schemes by the end of the year, and with each employing 3,000 it will make a significant impact in addressing unemployment in the mining communities.”

Bawumia said, “the government is providing them with equipment and new technology that requires very little water, sometimes just a barrel, to extract the gold from the ore without using zero mercury or cyanide. This is sustainable mining that addresses the issue of galamsey, and with ready buyers such as the Bank of Ghana and the local refineries that are being set up, we can confidently say we are building an integrated, inclusive gold industry.” 

Vice-President Bawumia said the Bank of Ghana (BoG), through the newly introduced Gold Purchase Programme, will focus its purchasing attention on this sector as it works to strengthen the future macroeconomic management and shore up the cedi with real gold backing. 

“Ghana is Africa’s largest gold producer, having overtaken South Africa in 2019. But the Bank of Ghana holds just 8.7 tonnes of physical gold in its reserves. For nearly three decades, almost 60 years, we have not added an ounce of gold to our reserve holdings. In comparison, Ghana’s gold reserve is equivalent to only 6.9% of South Africa’s gold reserve holdings of about 125.3 tonnes. 

“Thus, the decision by the Bank of Ghana in June 2021 to implement a gold purchase programme is a very welcome one. The benefits are enormous, and we can only hope and encourage the BoG to continue with this initiative.”

Expenditure leakages 

Dr Bawumia said the private sector is also being supported to build its capacity and reverse the significant expenditure leaks from the domestic economy through the importation of several tools and equipment, which Ghana has the capacity to produce.

“We are equipping the private sector in ways to fill these leakages and build capacity for such production locally. We are doing this by working closely with industry and academia, like the University of Mines, to equip young professionals with the skills required to operate competitively in the sector and perform innovative researches.”  

With all of these measures falling into place, the future of Ghana’s gold mining sector is bright, Dr Bawumia said.

“I believe with our structured efforts of integrating the mining industry to propel local industries, the entire mining value chain would be ready to create jobs, and we intend to tap into it to develop our economy. Going forward, Ghana cannot, and would not continue to be merely exporters of just minerals and other raw materials to other countries.”

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