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Gov’t to enforce National Assay Programme

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Adnan Adams Mohammed
On the need to remove all doubts and set everybody’s mind at ease regarding the volume and value of gold legitimately exported by the sector, particularly by gold producing members of the Chamber, President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that, he was looking forward to the implementation and enforcement of the National Assay Programme.
With regards to the National Assay Programme, an assaying laboratory (Gold Coast Refinery) has been built at the Kotoka International Airport and opened since 2016, but information Economy Times has gathered is that, none of the big mining companies are refining their gold locally before exporting them.
According to experts, the act of not refining the gold in Ghana before export is depriving the country of substantial gold revenue. 

But, the president has commended the Chamber and the mining companies for their resolve to work with the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), which has been appointed as the national assayer, to assay all bullion being exported out of the country for both small scale and large-scale mining companies.

Despite the fact that, the PMMC does not presently have the requisite technology to be fully operational, the President noted that, the company now has a strong incentive to build their capacity and transform their operations. “I am confident they will do so expeditiously,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo made this statement when he delivered the keynote address at the 2018 West Africa Mining and Power Conference and Exhibition at the Accra International Conference, last week.

The President added, the time has come for mining companies operating in Ghana to begin producing locally, many of the inputs they import.

According to him, a large amount of spending by mining companies leaks from the domestic economy through the importation of several tools and equipment, which Ghana has the capacity to produce.

“It is time to reverse this trend. Ghanaian entrepreneurs must be encouraged to work with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Chamber to identify opportunities in the value chain, where indigenous companies can manufacture these products locally,” he said.

He continued, “I know that mining inputs, such as caustic soda, activated carbon and grinding media, can be produced locally if businesses produce at competitive prices, in the needed quantities and the right quality. The readily available raw materials for some of the inputs mean that there is great potential for interested investors.

The mining sector, the President stressed, ought to be a captive market for Government’s 1-District-1-Factory initiative, and would help address the unemployment problem that has blighted Ghana for so long.

With the mining extractive sector no longer a large employer of labour due to the improvement in the deployment of technology and innovation, President AKufo-Addo stressed that job creation must be stimulated in an integrated manner through the value chain of the extractives sector.

The extractive sector, particularly mining, he stressed, can help to rapidly grow Ghana’s manufacturing sector.

“Government is empowering the private sector to create jobs and wealth by working closely with industry and academia to equip young professionals with the skills required to operate competitively in the sector. We are establishing a new paradigm of an integrated mining industry to propel local manufacturing,” he said.

The value chain of mining, President Akufo-Addo stressed, has huge potential for job-creation, and Government intends to tap into it to develop our economy.

“We cannot, and should not continue to be merely exporters of raw materials to other countries. I call on all players in the sector to work with us to deepen the integration of the mining sector with the non-mineral sectors of the economy,” he added.

Touching on streamlining the small-scale mining sector, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has worked on the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) to provide the needed framework to streamline small scale mining, and provide avenues for alternative employment for the galamseyers.

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