The Ghana Chamber of Mines has initiated a process to launch an online portal on local content to provide in-depth information on mining inputs required by members, which manufacturers and suppliers could bid to provide.
The portal, which would be launched later this year, would support potential investors and local entrepreneurs with up-to-date and specific information to enhance the implementation of the local content regulations.
Mr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, who announced this at the 89th Annual General Meeting of the Chamber, said aside the significant fiscal contributions of mining to the economy, the industry was keen to create and grow a robust local supplier base.
He said the Chamber and its member companies had at various times taken voluntary initiatives to promote in-country expenditure on mining inputs, including machinery and equipment, engineering services, power and fuel.
In 2015, the mining industry achieved about 73 per cent of its planned local purchases per the local content regulations.
Mr Addo-Kufuor said there were opportunities for local manufacturing, which could create the necessary linkages with other sectors of the economy and further enhance the role of mining in national development.
“I will re-emphasize here that the Chamber’s preference is for suppliers to manufacture locally and supply into the value chain of member companies,” he said, adding that this would create multiplier impact for the economy.
He urged the government to invite businesses and investors through the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy to explore the opportunities in the mining sector.
On the local impact of mining expenditure across the value chain, Mr Addo-Kufuor said producing member companies of the Chamber returned $2.3 billion out of their realized mineral revenue of $3.25 billion into the country, representing 70.9 per cent.
Out of the $2.3 billion repatriated revenue, $1.8 billion was channelled through the Commercial Banking System and the remaining $500 million was ploughed back via the Bank of Ghana.
He said the producing mines spent $1.01 billion on purchases of goods and services, excluding diesel and power, in the country.
“The consecutive increase in spending on local goods and services by the producing member companies mirrors the Chamber’s commitment to promoting local content in the mining industry,” Mr Addo-Kufuor said.
The mining and quarrying sector was the leading source of direct domestic revenue with fiscal receipts up to GHC1.65 billion in 2016 from GHC1.35 billion in 2015.
In addition, total direct employment by the producing companies stood at 11,628, an increase of 16 per cent over the 2015 figure of 9,939.
“Out of this 98 per cent are Ghanaian nationals, further buttressing the commitment of member companies to make mining more relevant to our people,” Mr Addo-Kufuor said.
On illegal mining, Mr Addo-Kufuor reiterated the Chamber’s commitment and support to the fight to end illegal mining and suggested that the moratorium placed on small-scale mining by the Minister must be used to study and enhance the regulatory framework within which such mining activities take place.
The Chamber, he said, was willing to support the government to streamline and regulate the operations of illegal miners across the country.
He said regular monitoring of illegal mining prone sites with the support of the media, chief and community leaders should help the national effort to end the menace.
On his part, Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, said transparency in the mining sector was critical to the positive image of the industry.
He said the perceived lack of transparency in the industry had been the underlying factor of acrimony between mining companies and their host communities as well as public suspicion that mining companies are exploiting the nation.
“Government, therefore, expects that as partners, we will be able to work together openly with mutual trust and devoid of any hidden tricks,” Mr Amewu added.