Business News of Wednesday, 30 July 2003
Accra, July 30, GNA - The mining sector has injected about five billion dollars into the Ghanaian economy between 1997 and 2002, Dr Tony Aubynn, a manager at the Ghana Chamber of Mines said on Wednesday. He said during the same period, the mining companies have paid over 400 billion cedis in royalties to the state.
Dr Aubynn, who was delivering a paper on "Alternative Livelihood Systems: A way forward" at a two-day workshop on Artisanal Mining- Its Economic Importance and effects on the environment, said most mines continue to return well in excess of the statutory 25 per cent of foreign earnings.
Citing the year 2000 as an example, Dr Aubynn said mining companies returned about 287 million dollars of their total mineral revenue representing about 40 per cent of the foreign earnings.
"Between 1992 and 2002, the mining industry has raked an average of 12 per cent of the country's total internal revenue," he said.
Dr Aubynn said the commission was streamlining the activities of the Association of Small- Scale Miners to incorporate them into the Chamber, adding, "Our main problem now is how to deal with galamsey operators, whose activities are degrading the environment at a faster rate," He said due to the inability of mining firms to employ all the people within its operational areas alternative livelihood systems as been institute to provide employment for the people, especially the youth.
He mentioned some of the systems to include snail and grass-cutter rearing, agro-forestry, cassava processing and fish farming.
Dr Baffour Bonney, Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment said although galamsey was a source of employment for the youth, its devastating effects on the environment was quite alarming. He urged stakeholders in the mining industry to come together to educate galamsey operators on the need for environmental conservation in order to preserve it for generations unborn.
Mrs Joyce Wereko- Brobey, Executive Director of the Ghana Chamber of Mines said artisanal mining has reached a stage in the country where cannot be wished away because it is a system which has been practiced in Ghana for over 2000 years.
"We however need to organise them in a way that their activities may not have devastating effect on the environment," she said, adding that it was not good enough to consign the small- scale miners to the usage of the crude methods which, they continue to use.
She called for the demarcation of areas for small-scale miners, with the provision of appropriate technology and technical know-how to ensure that their activities did not have effect on their health and that of others.