The Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, (GMWU), Mr. Abdul Moomin Gbana has called on government to establish a national mining company.
According to him, the time has come for Ghana to own its own mining company, to extract minerals and add to value where necessary.
This he said would ensure that Ghana’s scarce natural resources inure to our benefit.
Addressing the press on the Development and Tax Concession Agreements between Government of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Ltd, that has been set before Parliament for ratification, Mr. Gbana indicated that Ghana has been engaged in mining for ages without seeing any significant contribution to the developmental destiny of the country.
“Mineral resources deplete as it is being mined. It presents a challenge for the country to find innovative ways of benefiting from it whilst it last…Ghana has the local capacity to engage in large scale mining, without necessarily bringing in foreigners, who come to deplete our resources for near to nothing in return,” he stated.
Mr. Gbana lamented the level of poverty in the mining communities, especially Obuasi, in spite of all the money being made there.
He revealed that Anglogold has made over $39 billion since the beginning of its operations at Obuasi, but the town looks a pale shadow of itself today.
“The communities in the catchment areas of Anglogold do not have a say in the administration of the community fund established under the mining legal regime to facilitate development of mining communities, as should have been the case,” he said.
He further stated that some of the major mining companies are introducing merchandised mining into their operations, “which means that less people would be employed while already employed persons may be laid off.”
GMWU has decried the level of treatment that the few employed by these mining companies go through, adding that contract and casual employment is gradually taking over decent secured jobs in Ghana.
Mr. Gbana called on the government to interrogate the procurement regime of Anglogold under the Agreement, in order to secure local entrepreneurs.
He further advised government to demand a plan from Anglogold under the Agreement in relation to how they intend to ensure participatory development, with a bottom to top approach.
By: Frederick E. Aggrey