Officials attending the Ninth West and Central African (WaCA) Mining Summit and Expo here maintained on Monday that the region of West and Central Africa possessed some of the world’s largest untapped mineral resources.
Opening the summit, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi noted that this is one of the reasons the region had become the hub of mining investments and activities on the African continent.
“The region provides massive opportunities in terms of accessibility and availability of mineral resources on the African continent. The mineral producing countries in this region contain some of the world’s largest untapped high-grade mineral deposits,” she insisted, explaining that this is the reason behind the “phenomenon rush of mining interests in the region.”
The deputy minister therefore called for brainstorming to identify how African mineral producing countries could leverage their mineral resources for optimal socio-economic growth and development of the African continent.
According to Oteng-Gyasi, Ghana was taking steps to optimize opportunities in the mining sector through the provision of long-term inexpensive power supply; reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) on exploration activities; Development of railway infrastructure to help transportation of bauxite and manganese to ports as well as encouraging the development of shared infrastructure to integrate mining with community development.
In addition, she said the government was promoting value-addition through the processing of minerals; and the enactment of consolidated Mineral Revenue Management Law, similar to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to guide the use of mineral revenue in strategic sectors of the economy.
The two-day summit and expo organized by Magenta Global, a mining industry match-maker has participants and exhibitors from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Senegal among other African countries and others from Europe and the Americas.
As the mining industry seems to be emerging from its most turbulent periods in recent history, Maggie Tan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Magenta Global pte, noted that the West and Central African region is back in the spotlight.
“It is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for gold and mineral production. There are extensive opportunities for growth given the region’s massive geological base,” she observed.
The WaCA mining summit and exhibition is designed as an important productive networking platform for the global mining operators, exploration companies and service providers to get first-hand understanding of the mining potentials and challenges in the region.
“To ensure the economy (of Ghana) does not suffer undue setbacks as a result of weak gold prices as we are currently experiencing government’s policy is to diversify its minerals production base,” Addae Antwi-Boasiako, CEO of the country’s Minerals Commission, announced in his remarks.
One of the ways this is being done was the development of a strategic Anchor industry with a robust integrated bauxite and aluminum industry, iron and steel industry and renewable solar salt production architecture, according to the CEO.
The mining sector accounted for 14.4 percent of total government of Ghana revenue and 34 percent of total merchandise export in 2016, with 3.6 million ounces of gold production valued at 3.3 billion U.S. Dollars. Enditem