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Mining must make Africa prosperous, not poor" – President Akufo-Addo

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Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the mining industry has what it takes to help make the economic transformation sought after in Africa, and, thereby, make the African peoples prosper.

Speaking at the 2019 edition of the Investing in African Mining Indaba, the world’s largest mining investment conference, on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, President Akufo-Addo stated that it is not right that Africa, which is so rich in the minerals that are sought after by the world, should remain inhabited by the poorest people on the globe.

Whilst acknowledging that African countries have not always done well in the negotiations with the companies that have mined her minerals in the past, African, today, has come of age, and should not have to give unusual tax and royalty incentives, and mining companies should not expect to make extraordinary profits on the continent.

That is why he told the gathering that, on January 22, 2019, the re-opening of the AngloGold Ashanti mine in Obuasi was done under an agreement that balances more fairly the interests of the two sides, that is the Government of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti.

“As I said at the ceremony, it is my hope and expectation that, this time round, under the new management of AngloGold Ashanti, the development of Obuasi will reflect the wealth its soil produces,” he added.

Minerals, President Akufo-Addo explained, are a public resource, and the negotiations between countries and companies should be transparent, accessible and easily understandable by citizens, and that it should be done in language that does not need to be interpreted by experts.

“Communities should be able to examine mining contracts, find out how much revenue has been generated, and how, and on what it is being spent,” he said, adding that “long and bitter experience means both sides, African governments and mining companies, have to work hard to gain the trust of the people.”

With countries like Canada, Australia, the Americas and South Africa having spectacular examples of considerable wealth created amongst individuals and corporations as a result of significant discoveries in far-away lands, President Akufo-Addo stressed that “mining, can help rapidly to grow Africa’s manufacturing sector, and be the champion of economic growth on the continent.”

This, he added, will not happen if Africa remains the place to come and dig minerals that are exported in their raw condition to be processed outside.

“We cannot, and should not continue to be merely exporters of raw materials to other countries. The value chain of mineral extraction has great potential for job-creation, and can form an essential basis for the transformation of economies around the continent,” he added.

Value-addition activities in Ghana

In addition to the exploitation of the traditional minerals of gold, diamond and manganese in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that Ghana has taken the decision to exploit her considerable bauxite and iron ore deposits.

“We have established the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation, a public corporation, to take charge of the development, with appropriate investors, of the full value chain of our bauxite resources in order to establish an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana,” he said.

The President continued, “We are also determined to build an integrated iron and steel industry, out of our extensive iron ore and manganese deposits, to serve the needs of our country and region, and, to that end, Parliament, in its current session, will consider and, hopefully, approve the establishment of another public corporation, the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation, which will, with appropriate investors, take charge of this undertaking.”

Likewise, he stated that work is underway to exploit the considerable deposits of lithium in the country, stressing that “we hope to establish, in all these new ventures, an equitable balance between our needs and the needs of the investor community.”

The time, President Akufo-Addo added, has come “for the minerals sector to produce win-win situations for all stakeholders.”

He urged participants at the Mining Indaba to pay attention to “riches on top of the lands also in the form of a young, vibrant and dynamic population” who are anxious to work, and who, with the requisite skill, represent an extremely positive factor in the rapid development of the continent.

“Africa has made the world rich with our minerals, our gemstones adorn crowns and homes around the world, it is time to make Africa prosperous, and enable her people to attain a dignified standard of living. Join us in this exciting project for sustainable economic growth,” President Akufo-Addo said.

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