Ghana calls for adherence to African Mining Vision 

By Stephen Asante 

Peduase (E/R), Jan. 27, GNA – Ghana has drawn the attention of African countries to their obligations under the African Mining Vision, urging renewed commitments to harness the continent’s mineral potential. 

The Vision enjoins countries on the continent to collaborate and use the exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and economic development. 

“We cannot talk about Africa’s prosperity without talking about her natural resources, which for years have been the fulcrum around which most of our economies revolve,” Mr Samuel Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, noted. 

He was speaking at a discussion on the topic: “Extracting Greater Value from our Minerals – The Case of Gold and Lithium in Ghana,” at the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) 2024, being held at the Peduase Presidential Lodge, Eastern Region. 

The APD serves as a platform to address key issues hindering Africa’s progress and chart a course towards a more prosperous and inclusive future.  

This year’s theme is, ‘Delivering Prosperity in Africa: Produce, Add Value, Trade’, with about five Heads of State, including Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, participating. 

Mr Jinapor stated that after years of mining, the continent still held some 30 per cent of the world’s mineral resources, citing bauxite, graphite, copper, lithium, iron ore, manganese, among others. 

“Regrettably, the exploitation of these resources has not optimally benefited the people over the years,” he lamented, urging stakeholders to work together to change the narrative. 

They should rally under the auspices of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Secretariat and insist on the twin prerequisite of value addition and indigenous participation. 

“It requires policies and strategies that not only ensure that we mine sustainably and add value to what we manage but also promote intra-African trade of mineral resources to retain the value on the continent,” the Minister emphasised.  

Mr Jinapor’s presentation was premised against the background of the continent’s natural resources being dominated by foreign interest and the export of raw minerals. 

“This development is denying us of any value addition or linkages to other sectors of the African economy,” he elaborated. 

Referring to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) study of the gross per capita income of countries, the Minister said it was unfortunate 25 out of the 30 poorest countries in the world were in Africa, including countries with large reserves of natural resources. 

“The reason for this unfortunate situation is obvious,” he remarked. 

A 2018 United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Study concluded that the continent’s underdevelopment, despite the vast deposit of resources, is due to the failure to attract sufficient investment and other diversified activities along the value chain of the resources. 

This has informed the scenario where the resource-rich countries are overdependent on the export of raw materials. 

In his case study, Mr Jinapor said Ghana, despite mining gold for over a century, and despite being the leading producer of gold on the continent, still lacked refineries to refine this precious mineral. 

“And, even though, we boast of the second-largest smelter in sub-Saharan Africa, we have to export bauxite resources in their raw state, and import alumna, which is refined bauxite, for VALCO to smelt into aluminum. 

“This is certainly a sordid story. But this story is not different from the other parts of the continent,” he stressed. 

He also cited the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had the largest reserve of cobalt, estimated at 51 per cent of global cobalt reserves, as well as Zimbabwe, which had Africa’s largest lithium reserves and ranked sixth globally, yet exported substantial percentage of the resources in their natural state. 

“There is no better time than now to interrogate this subject, particularly as the world transitions to green energy, with lithium and other green minerals becoming critical for this transition,” the Minister pleaded. 

“We cannot transform our economies, if we continue to dig and ship,” he remarked. 

This year’s dialogue, he said, should, therefore, serve as a clarion call for governments, the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) to work together and leverage the mineral resources to propel resource-based industrialisation for the continent’s growth. 

On Ghana’s commitment to turn the corner, the Minister indicated that the Government had been working to ensure value addition mineral resources. 

“Today, for the first time in our country, Government has established, through a Public-Private Partnership, a 400-kilogram gold refinery to refine the gold we produce. 

“The Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation and Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation, established in 2018 and 2019, respectively, have been working to promote a developed integrated aluminum and iron and steel industries for exploration through refining to downstream production,” he stated. 

Additionally, the authorities are working with the Ghana Chamber of Mines to ensure that large-scale mining companies operating in the country, list on the Ghana Stock Exchange to enable the people acquire shares in these companies. 

A minerals and mining local content participation regulation to promote local content in the mining industry has also been enacted to ensure that the country derives optimal benefit from its natural resources. 

“Our people must have equities in the companies involved in the exploration, production, and processing of our mineral resources. 

“Wherever natural resources have benefitted countries and their citizens, they are hinged on these two fundamentals. We must, therefore, pursue value addition and indigenous participation in the exploitation of our natural resources with utmost vigour, resilience, and resolution,” the Minister stated.