Australian High Commissioner applauds gov’t measures to develop local capacity

The representative of the Australian High Commissioner with the MP, MCE and other stakeholders in a group picture.
The representative of the Australian High Commissioner with the MP, MCE and other stakeholders in a group picture.

Ghana’s gold extractive industry has matured over the decades, and we applaud the government’s measures to develop local capacity, said Gregory Andrews, Australian High Commissioner to Ghana.

He said his country was proud to work hand in hand with Ghana, while it developed the right structures and systems to ensure mining revenues led to economic development and delivered improvements in the living standards of the local people.

Addressing a special session of the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Assembly’s meeting held at Ahwetieso, Mr Andrews in a speech read on his behalf said, over the years, Australian mining and mining services companies had contributed directly to the sector, through job creation, knowledge and skills transfer, revenue generation and corporate social responsibility as well as community development projects.

More importantly, Australia prides itself as a key partner for the Ghanaian government in promoting fair, sustainable, and environmentally friendly mining practices that translate into shared wealth and socio-economic development for mining communities, he stated.

According to the High Commissioner, “Those linkages were amplified when the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor addressed a crowd of investors at the mining Indaba conference in Cape Town two weeks ago, during an Australian Government hosted event.

It was our pleasure to support the Minister’s call for foreign investment in developing new minerals in Ghana. Things to stable governance and a highly educated workforce. We believe the right platforms exist to build on the success of Ghana’s gold extraction experience”.

He said Australia through its various programmes such as scholarship awards, the former International Mining for Development Centre and its successor, the minerals and energy for Development Alliance, the Australia Africa partnership facility and the cadastral administration system at the Minerals Commission was proud to have contributed
over the years to the development of mining in Ghana.

Mr Andrews pointed out that “We have also supported skills development in the sector by providing over 500 mining related courses, scholarships and fellowships in the last decade, including 375 short course awards, delivered by Universities in Africa and Australia on extractive governance through their studies and experiences in Australia our African alumni transfer best practices, knowledge and cutting-edge skills to the mining industry to the huge benefit of their home countries”.

He emphasized that in Ghana they were encouraged by the government’s commitment to implement the economic and social reforms required to produce jobs and growth.

“It is not by any means an easy balance to attract investment, while at the same time ensuring a fair return for the Nation under whose soil the minerals lie, but it can be done and Australia is a good example of where this can be achieved”, he further said.

Mr George Mireku Duker, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Tarkwa-Nusaem constituency, noted that the purpose of the meeting was to set the foundation towards the establishment of sister-city relationship between Tarkwa and a city in Australia.

“We have studied literature on mining cities such as Kalgoorie, Broken Hill, Bendingo, Pilbara areas of Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland and South Hedland all in Australia.

With the outlook of Tarkwa-Nsuaem, I believe the City of Tarkwa can strike a sister-city relationship with any of the above cities in bilateral business and trade (mining), developmental projects, cultural and educational exchange programmes where;

Lecturers and students at University of Mines and Technology(UMaT), Tarkwa can have exchange programmes with some of the world’s prestigious University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, and University of Adelaide” he explained.

The MP stated that the success of the sister-city project would go a long way to deepen the relationship between Ghana and Australia where “An Annual Ghana-Australia Mining week” can be held in Tarkwa to boost Australia business interest in Ghana.

“Through the week celebration Australian-affiliated mining interest companies in Ghana would be put together to access their strength and the government would fill in the gap where necessary.

The city of Tarkwa would participate in this year’s Africa down under conference in Australia in August. I would use this opportunity to indicate that the team which would attend the conference include chiefs, lecturers and opinion leaders and would be granted a visa” Mr Duker indicated.

The Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Benjamin Kessie, added that, the assembly was excited to host the Australian delegation to discuss the partnership in detail in line with the Municipality’s vision of improving the quality of life and wellbeing of its citizenry together with their stakeholders.

He said it was his commitment as the Chief Executive to facilitate a sustainable peaceful co-existence, wealth creation through good governance, spread development evenly and fairly across the Municipality.

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