We need more local ownership in mining

A careful observation of global developments reveals a rise in resource nationalism where countries are bent on leveraging their resources to promote their national interest.

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Specifically, there is a new shift in the geopolitical landscape in the context of the energy transition that is leading to a rise in resource nationalism.

For instance, there is now a resource competition between the United States and European Union on the one hand and China on the other due to the latter’s domination of the supply chains of critical minerals crucial to the energy transition.

Also, there is a new protectionism emerging within Africa with some governments positioning themselves to gain a fair share of resources through an export ban on raw mineral ores without adding value locally.

This is consistent with the African Mining Vision’s key tenet of domestic value addition to minerals before exporting.

Another positive development is the decision by African governments to participate meaningfully in the ownership of the mines through various schemes, including free carried interest.

In the light of these developments, the Daily Graphic views the decision by Ghana’s Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIIF) to take an equity position in Atlantic Lithium as a laudable step and even more should be done in this regard.

Consequently, we are also delighted that our nationals are increasingly taking the risk to invest in mineral exploration and project development. More should be done by the government to encourage these exciting developments.

In this regard, the Daily Graphic believes that more targeted and favourable incentives must be offered to Ghanaians who venture into this highly risky industry.

This is more than a moral imperative.

The argument that needs to be made for empowering Ghanaians to be active participants in the mining industry is that it is the surest way to grow the much needed economic linkages from the mining industry. 

The Daily Graphic is a strong advocate for economic empowerment of Ghanaians in our mining and by extension, the extractive industry.

Such deliberate and strategic endeavour will prevent the repetition of the terrible mistakes we made as a nation in the past in the development of our natural resources. 

It is in this vein that we associate with the call by the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AngloGold Ashanti and statesman, Sir Sam Jonah, for the government to provide incentives that would encourage more Ghanaians to venture into mining.

At the recently held 15th Congregation of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), he said after many decades of mining, it was a blot on the nation that there was no significant ownership in the big mining firms in the country.

Sir Sam, who is currently the Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, said empowering Ghanaians to be more involved in mining was the best way to ensure that the country derived the maximum benefits from such natural resources.

“I have consistently bemoaned the absence of a meaningful ownership stake in the ownership of our mines.

Sixty-six years after independence, sadly the situation has not changed much.”

That said, it is instructive to note that there has been a recent encouraging development.

The acquisition of the Azuma project by Engineers and Planners, arguably the most dynamic Ghanaian company on the current mining scene, is undoubtedly one of the most exciting developments in our industry. 

We should all encourage more of such initiatives.

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As we do that, the state must find ingenious ways to actually encourage and incentivise Ghanaians to own a substantial stake or 100 per cent stake in some of our big mines.

It is important that we begin to think about how to stop eating the crumbs and sit at the table to partake in the meal.

We need to start implementing strategic initiatives to empower our people economically to change the sad narrative of ownership of the mines.

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