I will create millionaires from small-scale mining industry – Dr Bawumia

Accra, Feb.8, GNA – Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, the Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, has laid out a comprehensive vision for the mining sector, which would help to effectively regulate the industry, especially small-scale miners and protect the environment.

Speaking to the nation in Accra on Wednesday to unveil his vision for Ghana, Dr Bawumia said about one million Ghanaians were engaged in small-scale mining, hence the need to transform those miners to practice responsible mining, create more wealth, and protect the environment.

“About one million people are engaged in small scale mining. Our goal would be to help small scale mining companies to grow into large scale companies with capacity building and skills to access financing to acquire equipment.

“We can create many millionaires in the small-scale mining industry if we support them,” Dr Bawumia said.

“My government will support the Minerals Commission and key stakeholders to formalise the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector with the objective of ensuring that the activities of the entire value chain are sustainably and responsibly done.”

That would ensure that most of the gold produced by this sector could be sold to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and be eligible to be part of the gold reserves of the Central Bank, the NPP Flagbearer said.

In line with that, he said his government “would license all miners doing responsible mining. District mining committees, including chiefs, will provide initial temporary licenses to the miners.”

“As long as miners mine within the limits of their licenses, there will be no mining in river or water bodies, there will no longer be any seizure or burning of excavators.”

“I will fully decentralise the Minerals Commission as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ensure that they are present in all mining districts.”

Dr Bawumia said under his government, every Ghanaian in small-scale mining would be registered under the Ghana Small Scale Miners Association with their Ghanacard.

“We will, in collaboration with the large mining companies, convert abandoned shafts into community mining schemes and open more new community mining schemes.”

Other initiatives include a pension scheme for small-scale miners similar to what pertains in the cocoa sector for cocoa farmers.

He intends to introduce vocational and skills training on sustainable mining for small-scale miners in the curriculum of TVET institutions.

He would provide equipment to government authorities in mining communities to undertake reclamation of land, set up state of the art common user gold processing units in mining districts, in collaboration with the private sector, and conduct an audit of all concessions with various licenses.

“To encourage exploration, a Bawumia-governement will abolish the VAT on exploration services (like assaying) to encourage more exploration.”

“We will establish, in collaboration with the private sector, a Minerals Development Bank to support the mining industry.”

“We will establish (through the private sector) a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) certified gold refinery in Ghana within four years.”

“All responsibly mined small scale gold produced would be sold to the Central Bank, Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) and Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), which would be required to be refined before export.”

The event was on the theme: “Ghana’s Next Chapter: Selfless Leadership and Bold Solutions for the Future,” which enabled the NPP Flagbearer for the December Election, to outline his vision and direction for the nation.

Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the First Lady, Wife of the Vice President Hajia Samira Bawumia, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, former Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, and Mrs Osei Frema-Opare, the Chief of Staff were in attendance.

The others include the National Chairman of the NPP, Stephen Ayensu Ntim, Mr Justin Kodua Frempong, General Secretary of the Party, former presidential aspirants, ministers of State, members of Parliament, Party Executives, Council of Elders of the Party, and the diplomatic community.

The Kofi Ohene Konadu Auditorium of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) where the forum was held, was filled to capacity with enthusiastic party supporters and sympathizers having to find space outside the auditorium.