The Ghana Chamber of Mines has parried blame over the under development of mining communities in Ghana, saying government must respond to the situation.
The Ghana Chamber contends that despite the meagre percentage of disbursement of the mineral royalty to the communities by central government, the royalties are always in arrears depriving the beneficiary mining communities of development.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney explained in a meeting with the Eastern Regional Minister Eric Kwakye Darfuor in Koforidua on Tuesday that, the proportion of the total royalty which goes directly to the mining districts represent only 4.95% of all mineral royalty payments by the mining companies.
He further highlighted that in 2016 for instance, mining companies in the country paid mineral royalty of Ghc550 million to Government but only GHC27 million will be returned to the mining district assemblies for development, describing the disbursement as “woefully inadequate for the stimulation of meaningful infrastructural development in the mining communities”.
The Chamber of Mines though happy with government’s commitment to increase the overall proportion of royalty revenue from 10% to 20%, is still requesting government to increase the share to 30% for a fix period to tackle infrastructural challenges in the mining communities.
The CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines added that the passage of the Minerals Development Fund Act(2016) -Act 912, will complement the corporate Social Investment Initiatives ,Trust Funds and other developmental Foundations initiated by the mining companies for their host communities.
He however emphasized the need for Ghana to enact a Mineral Revenue Management Act to deepen transparency and accountability while providing opportunities to residents in mining communities to apply minerals revenue to the most critical areas of their communities.
Minister unhappy with insignificant contribution of the mining industry
The Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfuor did not mince words when he stated that Mining Communities and for that matter Ghana has not benefited meaningfully from the gold mining industry considering the quantity of gold deposits extracted from Ghana.
He said with the exception of few mining firms like Newmont Akyem Mines developing their operational areas in the region, most of the mining companies do not care about initiating support programs for their host communities.
He said the situation reflects the under development in most mining communities in Ghana creating public disenchantment over mining activities in the country.
Eric Kwakye Darfour therefore called on the mining companies to collaborate with their host communities to support them with developmental initiatives .
Reaction by CEO of Chamber of Mines
But in a reaction, the CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines Sulemanu Koney explained that with exception of 2015, the mining industry in Ghana has been the highest revenue contributor to the economy in the last five years of which a total of Ghc1.6 billion was paid to government as direct revenue.
He said, apart from this, the mining sector is providing job and business opportunities for local companies in the service supply chain.
He added that the mining sector is currently Ghana’s leading source of export earnings which in 2016 accounted for 46% of gross merchandized exports.