Samuel Abu Jinapor
Samuel Abu Jinapor

Ghana’s mining architecture must change - lands Minister

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has called for a change in the country’s mining architecture in order to resolve the security issues in the industry.

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He said the country’s mining architecture was anchored on the exportation of raw minerals which creates little value for the communities in which the mining companies operate.

The minister said, “this is what leads to antagonism and adversity in the communities which creates the security issues”.

 At a Mining Development Forum in Accra, Mr. Jinapor said all stakeholders including the government, the Chamber of Mines and Investors in the sector must have a frank discussion on how to create more value for the communities.

 He said just by deploying law enforcement agencies and by using brute force will not resolve issues of insecurity of large-scale mining operations in the country.

 “The mining companies must put in place sustainable measures to carry the communities along.”

“When you are exporting the minerals in its raw form, it means you are not creating proper robust value chain linkages which will carry the community along,” he stated.

Stakeholder approach

The minister said ensuring the security of mining operations was not only the duty of Government, as it requires a multi-stakeholder approach and a shared commitment from all stakeholders, including government, mining companies, mining communities, traditional leaders, civil society organizations, academia, multilateral organizations, development partners, among others. 
 
He said one of the policies governments had adopted in this regard was the Community Mining Scheme. 
 
“Local communities are at the heart of mining operations, and their participation, understanding and support are crucial to the success of these operations.” 

“Through the Community Mining Scheme, we are creating opportunities for local employment, engaging the youth in responsible, sustainable and environmentally sound mining practices, while preventing attacks on large-scale mining operations,” he stated.

Mr. Jinapor, therefore, urged the mining companies to support the government in the implementation of this scheme.

Safeguarding mining activities 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, for his part, said mining sector’s activities impact every facet of the economy and must therefore be safeguarded from the activities of criminals, illegal miners, and other miscreants.

He said recent invasions and attacks on defensive workers have created a sense of debilitating insecurity. 

Perseus was attacked and invaded, Golden Star Wassa’s Benso site was attacked and vandalized, and some equipment and vehicles were set ablaze, Newmont, AngloGold  Ashanti Obuasi, Gold Fields, Asanko, Mensin Bibiani Gold, and Future Global Resources (FGR) have all been attacked and sometimes overrun by trespassers. 

Mr. Koney said, “when a mine is unsecured, it does not only threaten continuous production but the livelihood of the ecosystem that depends on the mine: communities, government, suppliers, employees and shareholders”. 

He said the inability of duty bearers to decisively quell the wanton breach of security at one mine serves as an incentive for other miscreants to perpetrate similar in other mines.

“This inertia partly fuels the deteriorating security climate at the mines with adverse consequences for all stakeholders. For instance, Asanko Gold Mines spent over $500,000 to de-risk a portion of its concession through exploration. 

“While the work was ongoing, some persons invaded the area and have since annexed it as their own property. The mine has attempted umpteen times to evict the illegal miners without success,” he noted. 

He said it was therefore necessary for a stakeholder engagement which would delve into the various dimensions of the security gaps and explore the roles those various stakeholders, from government agencies and local communities to mining companies and environmental advocates, must proactively play in guaranteeing the safety and sustainability of the mining industry.

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