Mrs Georgette Sakyi-Addo, President of Women in Mining Ghana, has called on government to reserve a percentage of viable concessions for women interested in licensed small-scale mining.
“A figure of 15 per cent reserved could build the current estimated 10 per cent female small-scale mine owners to about 25 per cent to put women in decision making roles in the mining sector”, she said.
She was speaking at a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Forum held in Accra under the theme: “Promoting Sustainable Mining for
Sustainable Development in Ghana”, organised by the Canada High Commission to Ghana in collaboration with the CSR Foundation Ghana.
Mrs Sakyi-Addo said another 15 per cent of jobs should be reserved in the legal small-scale mining and large scale mining sector for women, combined with incentives for the mine owners especially if they provide female friendly work facilities.
She said these jobs would allow women in the communities to earn regular income and also ensure that the pipeline of ladies studying mining related courses would be assured of employment.
Mrs Sakyi-Addo said half of the people directly involved in artisanal and small-scale gold mines were women and that the large-scale sector was still heavily male-dominated industry.
She said globally, five per cent to 10 per cent of the mining workforce was female; the lowest of any major industry, stressing that in 2014, of the 10,949 members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, there were only 659 women.
“For a sector that contributes so heavily to our economy to have women so underrepresented is one of the largest challenge to its sustainability, and steps must be taken to address this”, she said.
Mrs Sakyi-Addo said mining related jobs in the country were mainly centred around the extraction and sale of minerals, which lacks diversification, leading to under exploitation of potential economic benefits.
She said there is the need to invest in value addition in the mining sector to create more jobs and increase foreign investment in the sector.
Mrs Philipa Varris, the Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Golden Star Resources Limited, said it was only with sustainable industry, governance, planning and growth, that the mining industry can achieve sustainable development.
She said inter-dependence was one of the true drivers of sustainability in the mining industry because it brings a shared understanding of needs, and mutual respect.
Mrs Varris said their outfit in partnership with the German Development Corporation and Ghana Health Services since 2010, provided free health screening to thousands of people and over 10,000 women and girls screened for breast cancer potentially saving 270 lives.
Dr Steve Manteaw, Campaign Coordinator for Integrated Social Development Centre, said mining has not contributed to sustainable development in the country due to institutional lapses and inability to add value to the country’s natural resources.
He said CSR should be seen as business and not charity work to the community since many of the projects targeted to the communities do not reflect the needs of the society.