By Mining editor
The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) has welcomed the announcement by President John Mahama that Ghana is seeking international cooperation to move the mining sector from a primary processor of mineral resources to a secondary one.
The union agrees with the President that over-reliance on primary production, had over the years denied the country the expected benefits from mining.
The General Secretary of the GMWU, Prince William Ankrah, noted that the absence of secondary processing of Ghana’s mineral resources was basically driven by a kind of hegemony that created the impression that the country can only generate money from raw gold, bauxite and other minerals.
“The Union therefore supports the president’s programme for secondary production for value addition to be actualized as soon as practicable. Arguably, this could become a major Presidential special initiative of our generation. Indeed, this needs the determination of a conviction politician. We have no doubt the President has such conviction”, Mr Ankrah said in a statement.
According to him, the gold refinery notion has died down for decades, especially when one look at how Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of the establishment of Gold refinery at Tarkwa could not be actualized. The proposed facility for the refinery has been turned into a university hostel thus defeating its intended purpose, he explained.
Mr Ankrah and his colleague mineworkers urged all interest groups to give their maximum support to enable the president to bring renewed energy as well as a new thinking into the structure of the mining sector. This challenges the status quo of continuing to export minerals in their raw state.
The GMWU general secretary noted that best practice elsewhere like Botswana among others have shown that the way to derive maximum returns from mining was through beneficiation.
He therefore described the secondary production agenda as a strong political will that the president hopes to achieve. In effect, a legal provision that warrants at least 20 per cent of raw gold produced in the country is retained for that purpose must be initiated as a matter of urgency.
Mr Ankrah lamented that it was sad that countries without natural mineral resources like that of Ghana could boast of amazing factories processing Gold and diamond into jewellery citing Thailand and Dubai as critical examples.
He stressed that despite the current challenges in the mining sector; the GMWU thinks the priority should be on ethical investments character with a shared architecture that benefits various stakeholders.
He added that having an aluminium smelting factory in Ghana for Bauxite will also be of great help to the country in respect of revenue enhancement as well as a vibrant manufacturing sector.
He emphasized that the same can apply to diamond at Akwatia as well as iron ore in the Oppong Valley which is yet to be tapped depending on its commercial viability. Cumulatively, this could have a great job opening for our struggling economy and help boost the economic activities in the host communities.
The position of the union has always been the need to have broad and well-researched bargaining preparations prior to entering into negotiations with the investors, because they come well positioned with a different mindset all together. The investor will not come as a benevolent person.
Mr. Ankrah further stated that the issue of corporate greed has now become the norm, however unethical; consequently there is the need for adequate and detailed analytical preparations during such business negotiations.
–African Eye News