The Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, Hon Esther Obeng Dappah has, said that time has come for Ghana to explore other mineral minerals resources aside the traditional minerals such as gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese.
She said the nation's economy for the past decades have depended mainly on the mining sector as well as the cocoa industry. However, revenue contribution from the mining sector, she observed, was very minimal even though gold prices continue to rise on the world market.
The nation is therefore not actually benefiting from the rise in gold prices, even though generally, the total workforce of 17,500, about 98 per cent in the mining industry are Ghanaians.
Hon Dappah was addressing participants at the ongoing United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD XII meeting in Accra yesterday, under the topic: 'The changing Face of Commodities in the Twenty-First Century'.
The Minister said the small scale mining sector provides employment for about 4,500 people and mining support services employs 3,500, while the sector contributes 6.44% of GDP.
She observed that Ghana has over relied on the exploitation of these traditional minerals with modest revenue at the expense of others and believed that time has come for the nation to explore others mineral resources such as salt, brown clay among others.
'For the nation to move forward and eradicate poverty, it needs to have a vision.' 'The nation must decide whether to give concessions to mining companies and take the royalties or get involved in the mining operations,' the Minister said.
She disclosed that a committee has been set up to look into activities of mining in the country and how the nation can benefit from these activities.
The minister underlined the importance of having refineries in the country to add value to the minerals the nation produces and stated that the committee set up will look into these areas as well.
She disclosed that laws governing mining activities in the country would be amended, since current laws, designed to attract investors in its current form were too liberal, and added that the mining industry, must move from enclosures to being fully integrated into the Ghanaian local economy
On small scale mining, she said that there were laws that gave concessions to small scale miners in the country, and that the nation must empower small scale miners to be economically viable, the minister said.