Government says its ongoing reform of mining policies will need the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in the sector to achieve the targetted, strategic national vision.

“It is through a deepened partnership of stakeholders that the industry can achieve the six priority areas of poverty reduction, revenue management, local content, regional development planning, social investment, and dispute resolution,” Mike Hammah, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, said.

The government in its 2012 budget statement increased the corporate tax rate for mining companies from 25 to 35 percent, introduced an additional windfall tax of 10 percent, and established a uniform regime for capital allowance of 20 percent that is deducted over five years.  

Early this year, it commissioned a seven-member team of negotiators to begin a review of mineral agreements and to redesign draft agreements to ensure that they yield maximum social and economic returns to the country.

Government is as well developing a new mining policy to guide its management of the mining and minerals sector, and it is expected to be ready by close of the year.

“Government’s viewpoint alone will not bring about the desired development of the mining industry. To ensure a win-win situation for both investors and government, there should be continuous dialogue between industry operators and the state,” Mr. Hammah told delegates at the three-day West Africa Mining and Power Exhibition and Conference (WAMPEX/WAMPOC) in Accra.

Mr. Hammah indicated that partnerships between companies, governments, development agencies and civil society could help fill capacity and governance gaps where necessary, and expand the overall socio-economic contribution of mining and metal investments.

“Partnerships with government, communities, civil society groups and academia could help advance the development of the industry. It will help confront local and global challenges such as illegal mining, economic recession, and accelerate progress towards agreed goals.”

Mr. Hammah said government is aware of the need to maintain a balance between incentives granted to mineral sector investors and benefits that accrue to the country from the exploitation of mineral resources.

He called on mining companies to do more in the area of sustainable development and deepening partnerships with stakeholders.

The three-day conference is targetted at providing a platform for experience and knowledge- sharing and discussions on the challenges and future prospects of Africa’s mining and energy sector. It is under the theme “Deepening Partnerships for the Sustainable Development of Africa’s Mineral and Energy Resources”.

Approximately 100 mining and power companies from Ghana, Mali, India, China, Senegal, Canada and Australia are attending the conference.

Nana Darkwa, Director of Events and Projects International, said the mining and power conference is one of the most effective ways to move the mining and power industries forward.

The event will showcase new technological developments in the mining industry and allow participants to network.

The West Africa Mining and Power Exhibition and Conference (WAMPEX/WAMPOC) is the premium West African platform for the mining and power sectors to network with countries and other business experts.

West African regional governments have embarked on major development programmes to expand mining infrastructure and increase capacity in recent years.

In doing this, the region’s infrastructure and power issues have in fact become an opportunity; much like its mining sector.

Eight new mines have started production in the last three years, with another 13 mine projects planned for the region.

Ghana’s mining sector alone has nine major mines and 600 smaller mining operations, all looking for international partners to scale-up production.

“The combined annual gold output of Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Ivory Coast has increased by 65% in five years to roughly 6.7 million ounces,” said John Thomson, Managing Director of Exhibition Management Services, co-organiser of the exhibition.

“These countries will produce 8.5 million ounces a year by 2013. But to do this they will need international partners,” he said.

Playing a prominent role in facilitating these kinds of developments for the last 17 years, the biennial West African Mining and Power Exhibition and its associated conference have attracted international exhibitors, visitors and delegates to Accra.

By Ekow Essabra-Mensah

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