Accra, Nov.27, GNA- The Precious Mineral Marketing Company (PMMC) last night honoured 61 companies and individual at its annual dinner and awards ceremony for their immense contribution towards the development of mineral industry in the country.
The awards, which were in two categories for both gold and diamond dealers, included the Diamond and Gold License Buyers awards, and Diamond and Gold Exporters awards.
The winners for gold and diamond license buyers were presented with plagues, framed certificates, gold and diamond scales while those in the diamond and gold exporters division received framed certificates and plagues.
Speaking at the function, Mrs. Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines said government was putting in place a mechanism to regularise the activities of small-scale miners and to support them with the appropriate technology and advice to make their operations more efficient and safe.
She said several small-scale miners have been registered individually while others have been formed into cooperatives that were working according to the law governing the industry.
The Minister however expressed concern about the activities of thousands of people who were still engaged in illegal mining as well as those encroaching on concessions and private property. Mrs Bannerman also said government was exploring various ways to encourage goldsmiths and other jewellery producers to add valued to their products as well as increase their output.
Mr Peter Boachie, Managing Director of PMMC said the company was focusing on the expansion of its jewellery operations to add value to the country's precious mineral in line with government policy of value-addition to primary products.
He said the ultimate objective for the jewellery production was to enable the company to utilize more of the gold and diamonds it purchases for jewellery production for sale locally as well as for export.
He said the move is expected to minimize the exports of the minerals in the raw form so as to maximize foreign currency earnings for the country.
Mr Boachie also announced the construction of an ultra-modern jewellery shop complex with equipment with funds being sourced from Italy to enhance the mechanisation of jewellery production to meet international standards.