The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union has advocated the setting up of a Mining Sector Infrastructure Fund (MSIF) under the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) to raise resources to fund infrastructure projects in mining communities.
Mr Abdul-Moomin Gbana, General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union, who made the call, in a statement on the infrastructural deficit in mining communities, said the setting up of the MSIF had become necessary to address the poor infrastructural facilities in mining communities of the country.
The statement was to commemorate the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union maiden Mineworkers’ Week which started from June 21 and would end June 25 under the theme “Integrating Labour and Community Interest for Socioeconomic Development.”
Mr Gbana observed that Ghana’s mining communities were faced with poor infrastructure, especially roads.
“A tour of mining communities in this country would reveal one similar and chilling characteristic – wretched and unplanned infrastructure if there ever existed any, huge infrastructural gap, lack of access to potable drinking water, polluted water bodies and environmental degradation. Meanwhile, the resources that continue to leave these communities are by the way, finite and would be depleted someday,” he stated.
He said Ghana had a long history of mineral endowment with sizable deposits of manganese, diamonds, and bauxite, with gold accounting for more than 95 per cent of mineral revenues which led in colonial times to the country being named the Gold Coast.
He said Ghana’s mining sector contributed 41 per cent of total exports earnings, 14 per cent of total tax revenues and 5.5 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.
He said in 2019 alone, the contribution of the mining sector by way of mineral revenue to the economy of Ghana from producing mining companies stood at 4.6 billion dollars.
Mr Gbana indicated that in 2020, total mineral revenue from producing mining companies stood at 5.1 billion dollars, saying “all these mineral revenues were generated from no other place in Ghana but typical mining communities such as Tarkwa, Akyempim, Ayanfuri, Damang, Akyem, Ahafo, Manso Nkran, and Obuasi.”
“Despite these revenues from these mining communities and Ghana’s current place as the largest producer of gold in Africa, modern-day Ghana continue to experience disappointing results in translating this mineral wealth into broad economic development for the benefit of its citizenry especially mining communities,” he said.
He said mining communities which were host to the country’s mineral deposits and its inhabitants were most often victims of all the social, economic and environmental ills such as the displacement of indigenous communities, loss of livelihoods, conflicts and human rights abuses, diversion of watercourses, and loss of biodiversity due to environmental destruction, caused by mining activities,” he said.
The General-Secretary of the Mineworkers’ Union suggested that the share of annual mineral royalties allocated to the MDF should be increased to 50 per cent from the current 30 per cent to enable the mining communities raise more funds for community infrastructure development.
Mr Gbana commended the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the passage of the Mineral Development Fund Act 2016 (Act 912) and the setting up of the Mineral Development Fund Secretariat as this is a substantial step towards responding to the deteriorating infrastructure and the glaring infrastructural deficit in these communities.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE