The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has urged players in the extractive sector to respect the local laws and work diligently to help unlock the full potential of the mining and energy sectors for sustainable development.
He emphasised that the exploitation of resources in the extractive sector must be done in a sustainable manner to ensure energy efficiency, environmental protection and responsible ecosystem management for climate action.
“As we embark on the journey to harness our mining and energy potential for sustainable development, we must prioritise sustainable practices and adopt an approach that balances economic growth, social equity and environmental stewardship,” he stressed.
Mr Jinapor added that it was through sustainable utilisation of those resources that their benefits could be maximised.
He made the call at the opening session of the fifth Ghana Mining and Energy Summit held by the Ghana Chamber of Miners in Accra yesterday.
The chamber instituted the summit as a platform for key actors in the country’s extractive industry to discuss the pertinent issues affecting the sector and explore innovative ways of harnessing its potential for national development.
This year’s summit was held on the theme: “Harnessing mining and energy potential for sustainable national development.”
Mr Jinapor said the mining and energy summit was a step in the right direction because those two sectors were “intrinsically intertwined, with energy being a key requirement for producing and processing minerals, while minerals remain very essential to the production of energy technologies.”
He noted that the global transition to clean energy sources, the demand for minerals and metals such as lithium, bauxite and manganese for the green transition, and the necessity to ensure sustainable, environmentally sound and energy-efficient mining practices, made the mining and energy discussions even more imperative.
The minister stressed that harnessing the mining and energy potential for sustainable development must move beyond mere rhetoric to urgent steps to sustainably utilise those resources for socio-economic development.
Mr Jinapor stressed that the situation whereby some policies and contracts tended to give extraordinary profits to mining companies at the expense of the country needed to be reversed.
He also said the overdependence on the export of raw minerals had denied the country of the benefits that accrued from those minerals across the value chain.
He cautioned players in the extractive sector to stay away from criminal activities such as illicit financial flows, illegal exploitation, tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing, transfer pricing and under-declaration.
“The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), for example, reports that illicit financial flows from our country through trade mis-invoicing averages about $1.44 billion per year with export under-invoicing and import over-invoicing accounting for almost another $ 1 billion.
We, obviously, cannot sustainably develop if this continues,” he said.
The minister said the government remained committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure compliance with stringent environmental regulations, the protection of local communities and the fair distribution of benefits.
“That is why we have, since 2017, prioritised value addition and local content and local participation in the mining industry through policies such as the establishment of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) and the progressive revision of our local procurement list,” he noted.
Mr Jinapor also said the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry remained committed to working with the Ministry of Energy to accelerate efforts in renewable energy development.
He said by diversifying the country’s energy mix and reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, the impact of climate change could be mitigated.
Again, he said, that move would also create a resilient energy infrastructure and provide affordable and reliable power to all citizens, regardless of their location.
“We will continue to collaborate closely with all stakeholders, including local communities, civil society organisations, private sector entities and international partners to achieve sustainable development anchored on integrity, transparency, candour and utmost good faith,” he stressed.