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01.03.2005 General News

Australian High Commissioner visits Mines Minister

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Accra, March 1, GNA - A group of goldsmiths from Ghana and Mali under an exchange programme, would visit South Africa this month to train artisans in the making of unique West African jewellery designs. Artisans in South Africa would also come over to the two countries to share and train their counterparts in that country's designs. This would help in improving the skills of jewel makers in Africa.

Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, who announced this on Tuesday during a visit to the Ministry by the Australian High Commissioner, Mr Jon Richardson, said the project emanated from a programme dubbed, the African Mining Partnership Forum (AMPF), a partnership programme between African Mining Ministers. The High Commissioner's visit was to exchange ideas of possible collaboration between the two countries.

Prof. Fobih recounted the cordial relationship between Ghana and Australia as both being members of the Commonwealth had common understanding of issues and invited the later to come on board to train local artisans. He said it had been the wish of Ghana to examine and know the value of gold that was exported by mining companies and hence the need to establish a refinery that would value gold in the raw state. He said the refinery that would cost approximately 15 million dollars would also help determine the value of raw gold to support the value addition programme.

The Minister said sourcing for funds the project was a bit of a problem so the Sector Ministry was discussing with private companies and other investors to partner with the Ghana National Precious Minerals Company, which is under the Ministry to see how they could establish such a refinery. He told Mr Richardson that the Government wished to develop forestry plantation and wood processing and therefore invited Australia to explore that area by embarking on commercial plantation and also help build the capacity of wood companies in the country.

Mr Richardson mentioned a number of Australia mining companies in the country, including, Newmont Ghana Gold; Ghanaian-Australian Goldfields Limited, Red Back Ghana Limited, Aboso Goldfields Limited and Resolute Amansie Limited, and said they testified to the level of economic relationship between the two countries. He said he would draw the attention of Australian investors and discuss with them, the possible areas that they could explore to deepen the relationship between Ghana and Australia.