Executives of the Chamber engaged members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy as part of the Chamber’s stakeholder engagement and image building programme. President of the Chamber who led the team stated that the Chamber deems it necessary to continue to engage the Select Committee and other relevant state institutions to address challenges in the mining industry and to stimulate growth. He pledged the commitment of member companies of the Chamber to continue to operate responsibly in the provision of economic and social development.
He said as the leading gold producer on the continent, accounting for about a third of total gold production, it was the right time for Ghana to take advantage of its position to build a more integrated mining industry. He said the growth in mineral production in the sub-region provided Ghana with the advantage to become the hub of mining support services in West Africa.
Officials of the Chamber with members of the Select Committee
On building linkages, Mr Asubonteng stated that the Chamber recognized that the commercial relationships between the mining and non-mining sectors had not been adequately nurtured. As a result, the country had not been able to optimize the value inherent in the supply chain of the minerals sector. According to him, to bridge this knowledge deficit, the Chamber engaged the services of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to undertake a study on the linkages between the minerals and non-mining sectors. The outcome of the study will be shared with the Sector Ministry and other stakeholders such as the Select Committee to build a consensus around the best approach to realise the potential of the sector.
Touching on the dangers of illegal mining and insecurity, Mr Asubonteng informed the MPs that the Chamber was working with the police administration to deploy elite police personnel to the mines. However, he said the recent disturbances at some mine sites and their environs were making the investor community nervous, especially with seeming lack of consequence for the perpetrators. He appealed to the Committee to look into these matters to help nip such issues in the bud.
Mr Asubonteng further indicated that since Ghana was overtaken by Mali as the largest recipient of exploration funds in 2018, it had been surpassed by Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire. He said relative to its peers in the sub-region, Ghana has a higher cost of holding land for exploration purposes. He indicated that land holding cost for exploration firms in Ghana is about double the equivalent rate in burgeoning mining jurisdictions. He requested that the MPs should take keen interest in the situation and proffer a more realistic solution.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sulemanu Koney, stated that the Chamber was collaborating with the Sector Ministry and the Minerals Commission to deepen local content in line with the Chamber’s objective of leveraging the activities of its members to spawn the development of local manufacturing firms and industrial capacity. In pursuance of this objective, the Chamber is partnering the Ghana Standards Authority to improve the quality of locally produced goods and development of standards, and the provision of market data on inputs consumed by member companies on the Chamber’s local content portal and to prospective firms.
Explaining the Chamber’s challenges with the Energy Sector Recovery Levy (ESRL), Mr Koney indicated that it was unfair to impose the levy on its members even though they did not enjoy the subsidies which led to the debt. He explained that unlike domestic and industrial consumers, mining firms typically procure electricity at a premium from the regulated market or through bilateral contracts with power utilities but have been asked to pay GH¢20 pesewas per litre of petrol/diesel as Energy Sector Recovery Levy, as well as 18 pesewas per kg on liquefied petroleum gas. He informed the MPs that expenditure on fuel constitutes a significant cost outlay for mining firms as they consume large quantities of it in the mineral production process. The price build-up of diesel has elements that are not directly or remotely related to the cost of supplying the fuel to the mines. As a result, the unit price of diesel consumed by the mines is relatively higher than that of their peers in the sub-region, including land-locked countries. He urged the members to examine the issues raised and support the Chamber in demanding a change in the policy.
The Chairman of the Select Committee, Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea, stated that the meeting was timely as it offered both the Chamber and the MPs the opportunity to discuss issues germane to the growth of the mining industry in Ghana. He said the Select Committee was tasked with the responsibility to ensure that sectors within its purview were operating at their optimum in order to drive economic growth and national development. He commended the Chamber for initiating the meeting and making it possible for the MPs to obtain the much-needed information on the performance of the mining industry.