The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker, says the government is determined to implement reforms on responsible mining to help build a mining sector that is robust to stand the test of any global crisis.
Mr Duker said the negative impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war on all sectors of the economy, including the mining sector, had provided useful lessons to the government on the need to build resilience in the sector "to repel the shocks of the next global crisis."
The deputy minister, who is also the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Member of Parliament (MP), stated this in an address at the opening session of the 5th West African Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum (WAIMM) Annual Industry Conference yesterday.
"The mining industry plays a key role in the resilience of the local economy, so we have taken the lead in the reformation drive through the promotion of responsible and sustainable mining practices. These reforms will yield fruits very soon and put Ghana on a sound footing," hesaid.
The WAIMM Industry Conference is a platform that provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the mining industry to network and find innovative solutions to teething challenges in the mining industry and fashion measures that would ensure sustainable industry practices and operations.
It explores technological and technical avenues to promote the industry through knowledge sharing with experts at both local and international levels.
The conference featured industry leaders and experts in a packed programme that included presentations, panel discussions on investment strategies, diversity, inclusion, global exploration and commodity trends and industry sustainability.
Mr Duker described the theme for the two-day conference: “Building a resilient and sustainable natural resources industry beyond global pandemic” as apt and timely.
He said the theme tied in perfectly with the new direction being pursued by government in the extractive sector.
“The conference seeks to provide the platform for discussing appropriate and innovative ways of addressing global and national challenges confronting national development through mining, and this is a great initiative,” he said.
The deputy minister said he was, particularly, happy the conference was dedicated not only to knowledge sharing and the dissemination of innovations, but also to developing business interest in the country and promoting new opportunities in the extractive sector value chain.
Mr Duker said to the extent that the mining sector had been the bedrock for Ghana’s socio-economic development over the years, it was important to safeguard it from all shocks.
He said it was in that recognition that policy initiatives were being rolled out to fight illegal mining and sanitise the small-scale mining sector.
The Ghanaian legislator observed that when the mining industry was purged of illegalities, it would ensure the protection of the environment and enhance the country's revenue generation.
He said the government was pursuing a drive to diversify the mining sector by creating a refinery hub for bauxite and iron in the country.