Experts discussing Ghana’s future as a mining nation have urged the country to develop and implement a strategy that will see the integration of mining into the rest of the economy.

“Ghana has no strategy for integrating its mineral sector into the rest of the national economy in spite of the passage of local content regulations,” Edmund Yaw Hassan of Torkornoo & Associates, a full spectrum mines consultancy group, said Friday during a two-day National Multi-Stakeholders’ Workshop on the African Mining Vision.

“While some progress is being made on backward linkages through procurement of inputs, personnel and services locally, forward linkages in terms of value addition are weak,” Hassan added.

Touching on challenges bedeviling the sector, Hassan intimated that due to Inadequate local capital in mining and the lack of policy clarity in the promotion of industrial minerals such as salt, clay, limestone, locals are not able to benefit from the mining sector as much as would be expected.

“Weak geological and geosciences database management undermines the country’s ability to showcase its real mineral potential while the power sector, which is key to mining, appears to be riddled with inefficiencies that is often passed on to consumers in the form of higher tariffs,” he observed.

He therefore urged the government to take steps to reorganize the artisanal mining sector not only looking at the export of raw minerals, but also repositioning the entire value chain for local beneficiation.

The Ford Foundation-partnered workshop organized by the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), a natural resource governance think tank, brought together stakeholders in Ghana’s mining industry to discuss a new mining vision for the country which takes on board recommendations of the African Mining Vision (AMV).

“The problem of the continent in the resource sector is not only financial for financing the exploitation of the resources but local technology is also virtually non-existent for effective exploitation of these resources,” Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP, pointed out.

The goal of Ghana’s proposed Country Mining Vision (CMV) is to have a sustainable and well-governed mining sector that effectively garners and deploys resource rents, that is safe, healthy, gender and ethnically inclusive, environmentally friendly, socially responsible and appreciated by surrounding communities.

As the extraction of resources affects the environment and people, Boakye underscored the need to have adequate rules of engagement that will enable African countries to benefit more from the extraction of their resources.

On her part, Pauline Vande-Pallen, Program Officer of the Gender Unit of the Third World Network (TWN) Africa, posited that the AMV represented an opportunity for the state and society to cooperate on development.

In spite of a few observable gaps mentioned at the workshop, Vande-Pallen expressed optimism in the AMV, describing it as “an important step for mineral governance”. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh