By Kingsley Asare
Government will continue to create an enabling environment for the mining industry to thrive, particularly for green projects and initiatives, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said.
He said climate change and sustainability had become the most pressing environmental issues in recent times and government would support initiatives the preserve the environment.
MrJinapor gave the assurance in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, MirekuDuker, during the 8th Ghana Mining Industry Awards.
Organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM), it was on the theme “Advancing a Legacy of Sustainable and Responsible Mining through Innovation and Partnerships.”
The award is meant to recognise excellence and innovation in the mining industry.
Mr Jinapor entreated mining companies to uphold standards that were critical for the sustainability of the sector and urged the GCM to play a lead role in the fight against illegal mining to protect the image of the mining industry.
“It is important to develop and put in the right governance structures within the industry to promote knowledge sharing and re-use of environmental data while focusing on promoting environmental education and building awareness on environmental sustainability in our host communities and the country at large,” he said.
MrJinapor commended the GCM for introducing the Mining Awards to promote, recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements and excellence in the mining industry and also introducing the Best Green Mine, the Best in Diversity and Inclusion and the Best Mine in Innovation categories in this year’s awards.
He pledged that the government would incorporate the recommendations and the suggestions the Chamber had made in its programmes.
The President of GCM, Mr Joshua Mortoti, said the mining sector had consistently played a vital role in the sustenance of the Ghanaian economy, saying the sector contributed greatly to the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
He said the sector was supporting the Bank of Ghana Gold Exchange Programme and the Forex Sales programme were some of the initiatives to support the government to support the government to overcome the challenges the economy was going through.
Mr Mortoti, who is the Executive Vice President and Head of Gold Fields West Africa, urged the government to take concrete steps to end illegal mining, provide more clarity on the Community Mining Scheme, engage more on the Gold for Oil programme, incentivise greenfield exploration, enforce the Minerals and Mining Laws and dialogue more with members of the GCM.
The Chief Executive Officer of GCM, DrSulemanuKoney, said the GCM and its members would continue to support the government to overcome the challenges the economy was going through.
“The recent overtures as well as policy initiatives of the government underscores the fact that it intends to leverage the country’s gold resources to catalyse the recovery of the economy,” he said.
Asanko Gold Mine which also won the Performer in Local Content, took the Mining Company of the Year Award.
Newmont Africa Ahafo and Akyem Mine won five awards including the Best Green Mine which went to the Newmont Ahafo, and the Best Performer in Local Manufacturing of Mine input went to Interplast.
The Mining Personality of the Year went to Daniel Egya-Mensah, the General Manager of Newmont Akyem Mine.