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01.11.2005 General News

Mining is still relevant - Chamber of Mines

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Accra, Nov. 1, GNA - The Ghana Chamber of Mines on Tuesday said mining would continue to play a significant role in moving the national economy, but called for a rational approach to the practice. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on contributions by the mining companies to development, the Chamber said it believed that the exploitation of minerals ought to be carried out in a prudent and sustainable fashion.

Mr Ahmed Nantogmah, Public Affairs Director of the Chamber, said within the context of the minerals extraction, sustainable development included conservation and prudent use of resources in order to significantly protect the range of opportunities for future generations. He described sustainable development as a desired goal saying, "the Chamber is willing to work with government and stakeholders to implement principles of cooperative decision-making and shared responsibility for the management of social and environmental issues". The Chamber described the period preceding the promulgation of the Minerals and Mining Law in 1986 when the industry was run virtually by the state as "poor".

Now, however, the industry is contributing 5.5 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which compares favourably with the sector's contribution to GDP in other mining countries. The Chamber noted that in response to new legislation and environmental concerns, the industry had reformed itself and there were no companies in the Chamber that were not fully committed to protecting the environment and contributing significantly to the communities around them.

"It is, however, simplistic to measure mining's contribution to the nation's economy merely on its share of the country's GDP since a lot of multiplier effects arise out of mining operations." Meanwhile, statistics from the Chamber indicate that royalties by mining companies to the State surged to 215.74 billion cedis last year, but very little of this translates into development in the communities. In 2000, the companies totalling over 15 paid royalties amounting to 118.74 billion cedis rising to 127.36 billion cedis in 2001 while in 2002 the figure hit 153.45 billion cedis. In 2003, royalties paid went up again to 194.39 billion cedis.

Corporate tax also rose from 15.79 billion in 2000 to 24.81 in the following year. It, however, dropped to 23.50 billion cedis in 2002 but went up again to 68.14 billion cedis in 2003 before hitting 100.33 billion cedis last year.

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