The Ghana Chamber of Mines has stressed the need for the nation to seriously consider bringing galamsey operators (illegal gold miners) into mainstream small scale mining to expand the revenue base.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber, Dr Toni Aubyn, 30 per cent of the 3. 6 million ounces of gold produced in the country in 2011 was from small scale mining and that the state stood to gain a lot if galamsey operation was mainstreamed and integrated into the economy.
The Chamber, he said, believed that Ghanaians should be part of mining, in view of the fact that foreigners, who go through the legal process, now appeared to take over.
He said the ‘galamsey’ operators were not paying anything to the state or to the communities they operated in, if measures were not put in place to ensure that they operated within the law, the state would not generate the needed revenue for development.
Dr Aubyn was speaking to The Ghanaian Times at the Environmental and Social Committee (ENSOC) training programme here on Thursday.
All the mining companies in the country were represented at the programme which was on under the theme ‘’Environmental and Social Responsibility: Key to Sustainable Mining”.
The aim was to find new ways of addressing the integration of all aspects of economic, social and environmental benefits and impact during and beyond mining as well as ways to proactively minimise and mitigate the social and environmental effects of mining.
Earlier, the CEO proposed the establishment of a Mining Revenue Fund under which all revenues to the government from the mining sector would be kept in a separate account to be used for national development.
He said the find when established not be under government expenditure and the rest used for infrastructural and other developments to enable the citizens to view mining as attractive and beneficial to them.
The CEO said the Chamber would continue to pursue the quest for mining to be responsible as a catalyst for development rather than as a source of revenue only.
Mr Richard Kofi Afenu, sectorial and policy planning manager of the Minerals Commission, took the participants through the use of mineral royalties stressing that all projects funded with funds from royalties should be labeled as such by stakeholders.
He urged district assemblies the open separates solely for royalties to ensure that mining communities derive maximum benefit.
Mr Afenu asked chief as leaders of the people to ensure the Judicious use of royalties adding in royalties must go into community development.