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Invest proceeds of minerals resources in mining communities; Chamber of Mines to Gov’t


imageThe Ghana Chamber of Mines has asked the government to invest proceeds from the sale of mineral resources back in mining communities to improve their lot.

The chamber said it is not happy about the poor state of mining communities. A total of GHȻ 160,792,149 was ploughed back into mining districts between 2011 and 2015- to serve as a manifestation of commensurate development.

It however said government’s inability to invest returns from mineral sales in the communities reflects poorly on the image of mining companies.

The chamber is also not happy about the inefficient utilization of minerals revenue ploughed back into mining communities and the irregular disbursement of royalties to district assemblies, saying it impedes meaningful development in mining communities.

In 2014, a total of 20,769,049 thousand Ghana cedis was spent on the companies’ Corporate Social Investment (CSI) in the areas of health, education and water, electricity, roads and sanitation.

The chamber in 2014 paid 1.24 billion dollars as revenue to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) representing 16.2%. It also paid over 1,238 Ghana cedis to the GRA as withholding taxes.

According to the Chamber, the ministry of finance has put mining companies as the largest source of revenue to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). Revenue accrued from their operations it said should be used to develop the communities where mining activities take place. The Chamber has also denied vehemently that the mining companies take all the money they make outside the country.

It further dismissed claims that mining companies in Ghana focus on employing expatriates to the detriment of Ghanaians. Figures from the chamber revealed that 12,148 locals are currently working in the mining companies, as against 234 expatriates representing 1.8 percent.

The chamber mentioned high cost of primary inputs such as electricity and diesel which translate into high production cost. The ex-refinery price paid for diesel according to the chamber is significantly higher than other users of diesel. Mining companies on monthly basis spend USD 5 million but charges for firms with similar demands for energetic was 37.03% lower than that of mining companies.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Alhaji Sulemanu Koney at a media interaction on mining companies operations in Ghana told journalists from the Northern and Upper East Regions in Tamale, that engaging expatriates in the mining sector is highly regulated and it is not easy as some Ghanaians want people to believe.

Records from the Minerals Commission show that, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the mining sector in 2014 in Ghana stood at 950 million U.S. dollars. Alhaji Koney said cumulatively, investment inflows into the sector from 2000 to 2014 stood above eight billion US dollars.

Outlining the challenges facing licensed mining companies in Ghana, Alhaji Koney said high cost of electricity is posing a serious challenge to them and wants the government to intervene. He said the companies pay huge amounts to the Electricity Company of Ghana which is taking a heavy toll on their businesses.

The Ghana chamber of mines also asked Ghanaians to speak against the activities of illegal mining popularly called galamsey, adding that the country is sitting on a time bomb.
Painting a gloomy picture of the negative impact gallamsey has, Alhaji Sulemanu said farm lands and water bodies are being destroyed on a daily basis.

Gallamsey operatives, Alhaji Sulemanu noted, abandon pits which are death traps for host community members and they also deprive the state and community of rent since their operations are not taxable.

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