Government is considering a directive that would provide guidelines to ensure that mining companies offer local businesses opportunity to take part in the mining sector value chain, Mr. Mike Hammah, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has disclosed.
This will form part of a paradigm shift where there would be organised interventions in order to reap maximum benefits from the sector. “Although mining companies were not compelled to do so, there was the need for them to show interest and consider proposals submitted by local entrepreneurs. “One of the challenges facing the industry is the inability of government policy directives to be successful, thereby making it difficult for the private sector to be fully involved in the mining sector,” he said.
Mr. Hammah made this disclosure when the senior vice president of AngloGold Ashanti, Peter Anderton, paid a courtesy call on him at the ministries in Accra. The country now boasts 16 operating mines, six projects at mine development stage and over 150 local and foreign companies with exploration licences, mainly in the domain of gold.
It is estimated that the large-scale mining companies have 27,000 direct employees made up of professionals like engineers, scientists, accountants and administrators, artisans like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, machine operators and drivers, and some unskilled labour. The mining industry indirectly employs about 527,000 people.
Mr. Hammah observed that the mining sector plays an important role in growing the country’s economy, adding that there was a stable labour force committed to moving the industry forward. “The ongoing review of the mining policy would define the responsibilities of mining companies to the communities in order to support their development,” he said. He congratulated AngloGold Ashanti for upholding policy guidelines and its responsibilities to the development and maintenance of mining communities.
Mr. Anderton observed that the country has been strategically positioned to attract global investors, adding “Ghana’s mining professionals are considered as [having quality] expertise and can be located in all of AngloGold’s 22 operations worldwide.”
He indicated that AngloGold Ashanti has a lot of commitment towards the country’s socio- economic development.
AngloGold Ashanti currently employs more than 63,000 people worldwide, of which 9000 of them are Ghanaians with indirect employment figures standing at 54,000. This includes its employees at Iduapriem, Obuasi, Accra corporate offices and Tema/Takoradi,
On contribution to the health sector, a $3million malaria control programme, dubbed the Obuasi Malaria Control Programme, was inaugurated. The objective is to reduce the incidence of malaria in Obuasi by 50 percent in two years. AngloGold Ashanti has so far solely funded the project with $8.4 million spending, well in excess of $1million per year.
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