Tarkwa (W/R), April 22, -GNA- Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines has said if Ghana is to earn more income in its minerals production then there is the need to add value to them before exporting them.
He said Ghana has been exporting its minerals either as bullion (gold), rough diamond or ore (bauxite and manganese). Prof. Fobih said it is the policy of his Ministry to encourage further processing of these minerals to add value to it before exporting them.
He said this at the Biennial Alumni Lecture of the Mining and Mineral Engineering Students' Association (MMESA), held at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) at Tarkwa yesterday. Prof Fobih said his Ministry's effort has received a favourable response saying an American company has set a factory at East Legon to cut and polish diamonds for export.
The Minister said the Precious Minerals Company Limited and the College of Jewellery are both undertaking aggressive development of the Jewellery sector as a means of adding value to the Nation's minerals and thereby promoting beneficiation in the sector.
He said the Small Scale Mining sub-sector has been recognized as a high employment generating activity and the Ministry has adopted a policy to support it to operate efficiently and in accordance with environmental regulations.
Prof. Fobih said the Ministry is seeking a three million dollars Chinese grant to create plant pool for Small Scale Miners to hire at a reasonable cost for their operations, adding, " it is hoped that the use of appropriate equipment will reduce accidents and also enhance production".
In a comment, he said, many professionals in the mining field do not get themselves involved in small-scale mining operations to improve the sub-sector and therefore, challenged Students and Alumni alike of UMaT to enter into small- scale mining, adding, a well prepared proposal would attract funding from small scale mining assistance scheme. Prof Fobih said the mining sector needs legal and regulatory systems that could win the confidence of investors as well as meet the expectations of the nation.
In this regard, he said the Ministry found it necessary to revise the Mineral and Mining Law 1986, PNDC Law 153 which was enacted about 20 years ago saying, "the Law had become ineffective in certain respects because of changes in international mining practices".
The Minister said the Ministry has also adopted programmes to provide basic geological data necessary to attract investors and the Geological Survey Department routinely undertakes geological data gathering to up-date their records.
He said this consists of airborne geophysical survey of the Volta and Keta basins and geological mapping of a six-selected field sheets in the north-western and south western corners of the country and parts of Eastern region to generate up-to-date investor-friendly maps. "This step, it is hoped, will diffuse the present over concentration of mining activitie in only the south-western portion of Ghana to the total neglect of the rest of the country," The Minister added.