Mr Henry Antwi, an Australian based Mining and Mineral Economics Consultant has emphasized the need for Ghana to move from the old-style mining enclaves into a sector that stimulates linkages to other activities and has multiplying effects on the economy.
Speaking at a lecture aimed at addressing the structural weaknesses hindering Ghana’s diversification drive and minerals based value addition initiatives, Mr Antwi underscored the requirement for integration and partnership between government, private sector, society and strides towards macroeconomic stabilization.
He mentioned “the significance of proper assessment of Ghana’s mineral assets especially in an era where competition for access to mineral rights is posing challenges to resources in rich countries”.
Mr Antwi, who is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (FAusIMM), said this at the University of Mines and Technology’s 7th Alumni Lectures when he delivered a lecture on the topic “Harnessing Mineral Resources towards Sustainable Economic Development”.
He said “This will ensure that the country’s minerals resources are not undervalued and economic returns due Ghanaians are not siphoned to foreign interests”.
Mr Antwi, recommended that the Government Mining Holding Company should be driven by value addition initiatives in the country and emphasised that multiple companies per commodity incur high overheads, administrative cost and funding challenges.
Explaining this concept, he said “A single company will negotiate all joint ventures with the private sector. There is also the advantage of technical economist that ensures expertise in the company will conduct all the relevant preliminary economic analysis for all commodities”.
He said that other advantages of this concept include research and development of economics to benefit the entire value addition chains.
Mr Antwi called for a regulatory environment in Ghana that is stable and competitive, coupled with efficient and cost effective access to infrastructure and energy to drive a sustainable minerals based industrialization in Ghana.
He said “In harnessing mineral resources towards sustainable economic development, the assessment of available mineral resources, delineation of value addition potential per commodity and assessment of the global and regional supply demand and price dynamics, accessible markets and competitive landscape are necessary.
Mr. Antwi also touched on the future of the mining industry citing revolutionary knowledge based applications of artificial intelligence and technology.
“The increased penetration of robotics in process-controlled operations in the logistics and supply business, uptake of autonomous mining and automated operation and Key Performance Indicator Tracking Systems are now readily available to analyse large data” the consultant said.
On potential of deep sea mining, he said universities need to modify their course structures to more technological and programmable subjects.
He charged the University of Mines and Technology Alumni to lead in stakeholder discussions on the establishment of industry funded technological research centre manned by industry practitioners.
He explained that technological penetration would lead to reduction in workforce and therefore developing countries like Ghana had to find a balance between technology and job creation.
According to him to unlock the full potential of Ghana’s resources, policies should focus more on human capital development.
Mr Antwi urged government and the mining industry to boost the infrastructure and resource capacity of UMaT for effective human resource capacity building and ensure that their engineers can innovate and use technology to unlock the full potential of the mining industry in Ghana