The Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) is making a strong case for the sustainable development of mining communities following the passage of the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) Act in 2016. Mr Sulemanu Koney, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber who is leading the advocacy, stated that the passage of the MDF Act should translate into massive transformation of mining communities where mineral revenues emanate from. Mr. Koney made the comments at a training workshop for the media in the Ashanti Region on the MDF Act and the mandate of the MDF Secretariat established for the disbursement of the Fund. Organized by the Chamber, the training sought to equip journalists with the right information on the activities of the secretariat as well as its mandate to enable them demand accountability in the disbursement of the fund.
The MDF Secretariat is mandated to oversee the provision of financial resources for the benefit of mining communities as well as traditional and local government authorities from the revenue inflow to the Fund.
The Fund, which is dedicated for the development of mining communities has sources including 20 per cent of mining revenue received by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Mr Koney said the Chamber played a key role in the passage of the Act after years of advocacy for 30 per cent of mining royalties to be ploughed back to mining communities for development.
He said a research conducted by the Chamber about ten years ago showed that if 30 per cent of royalties were retained and targeted specific projects for a defined period of time, mining communities would see massive development.
Based on that research, he said, his outfit embarked on a vigorous advocacy supported by other development oriented Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), leading to the passage of the Act.
He said though the disbursement of the fund for the benefit of the communities had been slow, progress had been made following the constitution of the board, adding that plans were underway to establish the Local Development Committees to oversee the execution of projects.