Dr Sulemana Koney, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has called for deliberate and proactive efforts by major stakeholders to leverage the potentials of mining to accelerate economic development.
He said mining presented lots of opportunities in various sectors, including agriculture, tourism, transport, employment and security and should serve as a catalyst for the needed development.
“Often times, people have said that mining is an enclave, but we don’t believe that However, in order to ensure that mining is not seen as such, we have to be proactive, deliberate and we have to start working together even before production starts,” he said.
He called on local authorities and communities to reposition themselves, especially in the supply chain and skills acquisition, to appropriately harness such opportunities for their growth and development.
Dr Koney, also the Executive Director of the ECOWAS Federation of Chamber of Mines, said this when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, in Bolgatanga.
The visit was part of a familiarisation tour to the mines of Cardinal Namdini Gold Limited, a subsidiary of Shandong Gold, a Chinese mining firm and member of the Ghana Chamber of Mines.
Dr Koney believed that with the presence of Cardinal Namdini Gold Ltd and other large scale mining companies, the region was opened for economic growth and urged the residents to harness the potentials for growth.
“We need to understand that it is not just the royalties that the mining companies pay, because by law when royalties are paid, a certain proportion will come to the community but beyond that there are opportunities within the community that we can leverage with the presence of mining companies,” he said.
“Anything that a mine will need, we should be able to provide, and that symbiotic relationship is important because at the end of the day the company will prefer to buy from sources, which are closer.”
Dr Koney said awareness must be created to whip up interests in institutions and communities to identify the gaps in supply and skills in the mining sector and reposition to take advantage of such opportunities.
“If we want to see the real benefit of Cardinal Namdini in this region we need to reposition ourselves and take advantage of anything that they will spend money on to supply.”
“There is the need to start the conversation early so that by the time production starts, the communities are ready to provide the needed services.”
The Regional Minister said the Upper East Region was becoming a mining hub in the country with many large-scale companies in operation, hence the need to ensure responsible mining.
Often conflicts arose between residents and mining companies due to the lack of community involvement and urged the Cardinal Namdini Gold Limited to ensure local content was strictly adhered to.
The CEO and his delegation also called on the Tong Raan Kugbilsong Nanlebetang, the Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, and Mr Thomas Duanab Pearson Wuni, the Talensi District Chief Executive.