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Bawumia Champions Reforms to Boost Ghana’s Small-Scale Mining

Aims to Position Ghana as a Top Gold Producer in Africa

by Adenike Adeodun

Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has proposed significant reforms to enhance Ghana’s small-scale mining sector, intending to establish the country as a leader in Africa’s gold industry. During the third annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining held at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, Bawumia emphasized the potential of the small-scale sector to propel Ghana to the forefront of the gold industry, not just by exporting raw materials but by producing high-value-added products.

Bawumia’s speech highlighted the urgent need for a structured and well-resourced small-scale mining industry. He pointed out the necessity of empowering educational institutions and governmental bodies to improve exploration and control over the nation’s mineral resources. His plans include bolstering the capabilities of the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) and enhancing the role of universities like UENR and the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in natural resource exploration.

Furthermore, Dr. Bawumia announced the prospective establishment of a Mineral Development Bank dedicated to supporting the mining sector. This initiative is expected to reduce reliance on foreign financing, which has historically led to resource smuggling. Additionally, he discussed the creation of a local banking infrastructure to better support small-scale miners and reduce illicit financial flows in the industry.

In his proposed measures to combat the prevalent issues within the sector, Bawumia revealed plans to expand the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) to establish more gold buying centers. These centers aim to consolidate gold resources from small-scale miners, providing them with the necessary resources and an equipment pool to enhance their operations and productivity. The vice president also mentioned organizing periodic training for miners to improve their skills and knowledge, further professionalizing the sector.

Bawumia’s future vision includes integrating mining studies into the national education curriculum. This initiative is intended to foster early education on responsible mining practices and reclamation from a young age, preparing future generations for sustainable mining operations.

The Vice-President also addressed the vast unexplored potential within Ghana’s gold belts. Citing data from the GGSA, he noted that about 50% of Ghana’s gold resources, spread across seven gold belts totaling 23,000 square kilometers, remain untapped. With current market values, these resources could be worth approximately $10 trillion, presenting a significant opportunity for national wealth.

However, Bawumia also acknowledged the severe challenges posed by illegal mining, or “galamsey,” which has been detrimental to Ghana’s environment and river bodies. He committed to continuing the fight against these harmful practices, emphasizing the importance of maintaining ecological integrity alongside economic development.

The vice president’s proposals reflect a strategic approach to harness the full potential of Ghana’s mineral wealth by making systemic changes that promise to improve regulatory frameworks, enhance local capacity, and foster sustainable practices within the mining sector. These initiatives could position Ghana as a key player in the global gold market while ensuring that mining activities contribute positively to the country’s development and environmental conservation.

Dr. Bawumia’s plans for transforming Ghana’s mining sector involve a multifaceted approach that includes boosting local capabilities, enhancing educational programs, expanding infrastructure, and ensuring environmental conservation. By implementing these reforms, he aims to ensure that Ghana not only excels in gold production but also sets a standard for responsible and sustainable mining practices worldwide.

Source: Graphic Online

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