Australia to support extractive sector development

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Mr. William Billy Williams, Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, has assured the nation of Australia?s commitment to support Africa, especially Ghana, in the development of its extractive sector.

He said Australian resources companies have current and projected investment across Africa of around 50 billion Australia dollars, adding: ?There are over 230 Australian companies working on more than 650 projects in exploration, extraction, processing and mining services in 42 countries in Africa.?

Mr. Williams was speaking at a reception in Accra held to welcome graduates who recently completed a Geographic Information System mining course in Australia.

It was also to welcome participants of the first two mining-related courses — on occupational health and safety, and managing corporate social relationships — hosted in Accra.

He said the reception was also to launch Ghana as a hub for Australian courses in Africa, and a technical assistance programme that Australia will provide for the Ghana Revenue Authority to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of revenue collection and tax administration in the minerals sector.

Mr. Williams noted that the investment Australian companies have in Africa has contributed to Africa?s long-term economic and community development.

He said more than 15 Australian mining and related services companies have invested several hundred million dollars in extraction, exploration and associated activities — generating extensive employment and a significant ?multiplier effect? in Ghana.

He said the reception was an opportunity to recognise Australia’s commitment to mining for development, which is a key focus of Australia?s commitment to human resource capacity building.

He noted that since 2010, 27 African countries have received around 240 short- and long-term Australia Awards in mining and natural resource management, covering issues such as mining governance, environmental management and workplace safety.

He said Ghana is being awarded 85 Australia Awards in 2012: including mining governance, agriculture, health, education and public policy; and added that Australia will deliver 1,000 Awards throughout Africa each year from 2013.

Mr. Ben Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said one key role of a mineral-endowed nation is to promote exploration and exploitation of resources in which comparative advantage exists and competitive advantage could be developed.

He said the role of the minerals commission as spelt out in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana is to regulate and manage the utilisation of mineral resources in Ghana and the coordination and implementation of policies in relation to them.

Mr. Aryee said institutional reforms aimed at strengthening enforcement of regulations, following the coming into force of Act 703, the erstwhile Mines Department was brought under the Minerals Commission as the ?Inspectorate Division?.

He said the Minerals Commission is collaborating with the Chamber of Mines to identify products required by industry to be produced and supplied by local companies, adding: ?About 28 products have so far been shortlisted.?

Mr. Aryee thanked the Australian Government for choosing Ghana as a hub for Australia-funded training courses that will be delivered in West Africa.

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