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05.07.2004 Business & Finance

West African Mines Ministers meet in Accra

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Accra, July 5, GNA- West African Ministers of Mines began a meeting in Accra on Monday to deliberate on the formation of a sub-regional body to streamline sustainable exploration of minerals in the sub-region. The meeting is a follow up to a similar one held in South Africa last February where the Ministers decided to form regional blocks to fine-tune an acceptable development agenda for the future of the continent's mineral resources.

Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria are present at the event, which precedes a three-day West African Mining Conference that comes off in Accra from Tuesday.

Briefing journalists after the opening session, Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines said since mineral deposits were exhaustible, it was prudent for the countries to diversify their portfolio of mineral deposits to reduce the impact of price fluctuations when they occurred on the international commodity market.

She said the purpose of the meeting was also to create a West African Mining Forum at which the industry would find means of addressing the problems facing it in a broad scope and examine the objectives of the bigger African Mining Partnership Forum (AMPF).

In a speech read for him, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, said Africa's mining potential had benefited others more than her people.

"This is precisely what NEPAD intends to reverse," he said, adding that NEPAD sought to establish new partnership arrangements that would lead to a win-win situation for all parties involved. He said the ministry had adopted a "novel approach to the development of Africa with the view to seeing mining resources not as national assets, but cross-border and sub-regional means of harnessing resources of the entire continent as a strategy to forge greater integration and cooperation".

Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso are major producers of gold, diamond, bauxite, crude oil and gas. 05 July 04