The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemana Koney, has expressed worry about the inability of the country to convert threats of illegal miners, popularly known as “galamsey,” into opportunities so it can rake in some revenue.

“The issue of galamsey is a problem. The question is: How do we convert that challenge into an opportunity? For us, it is not just about complaining, but how to convert it into an opportunity. This is a critical problem we have in this country,” he said at a workshop for members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA) in Accra.

“Collectively, their production with the small-scale miners is larger than Newmont, which is the largest producer of gold in this country. It is larger than any single mine production, and we cannot let this continue,” he said.

Mr Koney said it was sad that despite all the harmful effects on the community, the state still got virtually nothing from their operations.

“On top of the degradation of the environment and pollution of water bodies, there are risks to communities and the miners themselves because we hear of pits caving in and people dying as a result. On top of all those challenges, little benefits come to the state; virtually nothing comes to the state,” he said.

The Ghana Extractive Industries’ Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) report is a publication on the development outcomes from benefit payments made by mining companies to the government. It is also aimed at enhancing transparency in the payments, receipts, disbursements and utilisation of these benefits.

The 2012 and 2013 edition of the report recommended that there was the need for the government to design schemes aimed at earning some revenue from the sector, looking at their total contribution to total gold exports.

“The rate of extraction of gold by the small-scale and artisanal miners means the state is at loss without any commensuration in revenue.

Since most small-scale and artisanal miners are undocumented and with poor accounting practices, royalty payment may be instituted at the point of export,” the report said.

Source: Graphic

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