Nkwanta, Feb. 24, GNA - Mr Richard Afenu, a member of the Project Management Unit of the Mining Sector Support Programme (MSSP), on Thursday said the sector alone contributed seven per cent to the country's earnings from corporate tax.
Additionally, he said the sector gave 33 per cent of total export, 11 per cent of government revenue, five per cent of GDP and employed some 500,000 people.
Mr Afenu made these claims at a day's sensitisation forum for chiefs and other stakeholders on mineral resources prospecting at Nkwanta, which has been selected by the MSSP to benefit from the project. Five other areas including the Keta basin and Asankragwa are also to benefit from the nationwide feasibility studies. Mr Afenu said the task would be executed by a consortium of firms including the Council of Geo-Science of South Africa, BIGM of France and Geo-Man Consultancy of Ghana.
He said the component of the project, which included geological mapping of the selected field sheets in the marked areas and a follow up to the airborne geo-physical surveys carried out over parts of the country, would cost 72.2 billion cedis to complete.
Mr Afenu appealed to chiefs and stakeholders to embrace the project since no major mining activity was taking place in the Region and entreated the consultants to treat the communities in which they would be working with dignity and respect to enjoy their fullest co-operation. Mr Paulus Geraedts, Head of Transport and Infrastructure section of the EU delegation in Ghana said the EU in close collaboration with government had selected the Volta Basin and the Keta Basin for further geological and geo-physical exploration work to identify the potential of minerals and underground water resources. He recounted the fruitless efforts in finding water in some areas of the Volta River Basin and expressed the hope that "through the mapping and survey exercises new information would be available to ease direction".
Mr Geraedts said the overall objective of the programme was to sustain Ghana's mining sector performance, alleviate poverty by increasing employment and mitigate mining's negative environmental impact. Mr Philip Amoako, Director of Geological Survey Department said over 1,800 kilometre square of land in the Nkwanta area would be investigated for mineral and other resources for economic prospecting. He said the mineral and water resources, the social rocks and caves for geo-tourism that might be identified, if later developed would create wealth and employment and aid the socio-economic development of the area.
Mr Joseph Denteh, Nkwanta District Chief Executive (DCE) said government and the EU's initiative in the MSSP in addition to the micro project programme, which was extended to the District further confirmed EU's commitmen t to helping improve the socio economic well being of the rural poor. In an open forum, participants posed questions on the environmental implications of the project, compensation for land, land title, interference in the Kyabobo National Park and whether this effort would not be like in the sixties when some feasibility studies were carried out and abandoned.