Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)
Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)

Ghana has the potential to derive fuller benefits beyond just revenue from its minerals and mining industry, Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director for the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), observed here on Wednesday.

Speaking at a day’s National Level Dialogue on Mineral Extraction for Sustainable Development, Boakye underscored the need for government to put in place the right policies and structures to make the country derive better developmental benefits from the mining sector.

“Ghana has more minerals beyond gold, bauxite and diamond, but we have failed to plan properly to see other benefits beyond revenue from the exploitation of these minerals,” he said.

The executive director of the think tank which promotes good governance in the extractive industry across Africa, argued that it was time government started finding out and putting in place the right skills set, the right policies, the right regulatory framework and incentives needed to make the sector more beneficial.

“For instance, the country can tie the development of certain key infrastructure in mineral-rich communities with the mining license, so that communities would not be deprived of development while mining goes on around them,” Boakye urged.

On why Ghana had failed with minerals, the expert cited poor planning for the industry, politics-led decision making, lack of transparency on decisions and no planning for revenue.

He noted that mining communities also suffered because there was little or no discussion on alternative livelihoods for members of these communities who lost their farms, lands, houses and other livelihoods as a result of mining activities.

Ghana has large iron ore deposits in Sheini, near Tamale, 650 km north of the capital, and the think tank believes the government and civil society must ensure that the right policies and systems are put in place before attempts are made to mine the ore.

Pauline Anaman, Head of Policy at ACEP, urged government to invest in the acquisition of geo-scientific data on all minerals in the country since that would strengthen the country’s position during negotiations with partners.

“With the geo-scientific data, the country can leverage on its knowledge of what is to be expected in the ground to negotiate better terms with contractors,” Anaman said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/Newsghana.com.gh