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Joshua receiving the presidential sash from Dr Eric Asubonteng, the immediate past President of the Chamber
Josh is Chamber President
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Monday, 6 June 2022 |
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Our Acting EVP for the West Africa region, Joshua Mortoti, was inaugurated as the new President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines at the Chamber's 94th Annual General Meeting in Accra last Friday. Joshua will serve a first term of two years, with an option to renew for a second term. As President, he will chair the highest decision-making bodies of the Chamber. Read on for his inaugural presidential address:
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS BY INCOMING PRESIDENT OF THE GHANA CHAMBER OF MINES, MR JOSHUA MORTOTI, ON THE OCASSION OF THE 94TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE CHAMBER, HELD AT THE ACCRA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, FRIDAY 3RD JUNE 2022.
Honourable Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor (MP for Damongo)
Past and Present Executives of the Ghana Chamber of Mines,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Executives and members of the ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines,
Captains of Industry,
Chief Executives of private and public institutions
Members of the Media,
Distinguished invited guests, ladies, and gentlemen
It is a great honour and privilege to be elected as the 39th President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and to present the Presidential address at this 94th Annual General Meeting of our Chamber. When the time comes to present the Annual Presidential Address there are inevitably both positive and negative observations that have to be made about an industry, which since its inception more than 94 years ago has played such a catalystic role in the socio-economic growth and development of our dear country.
Hon. Minister, ladies, and gentlemen, please join me to celebrate the Immediate Past President of the Chamber, Dr. Eric Asubonteng, for his significant efforts in leading the promotion of our industry and working with key stakeholders to improve its fortunes in the past four years. Over the past years, our Chamber's Presidents, and its Chief Executives, with the support of the members of the Executive Committee and Council have worked assiduously to sustain our industry despite the prevailing headwinds. This has by no means contributed to the success chalked by the Chamber since its birth 94 years ago.
I would like to extend a special welcome to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources as well as the Chief Executives of state and other related institutions for joining us today. It is my sincere hope that we will continue to work together to drive the agenda of responsible and sustainable mining in Ghana that provides enduring value to our host communities, government, and our investors. I must say that taking up this role in these times of global uncertainty coupled with domestic socioeconomic challenges is quite a daunting task, but surmountable with the support of every one of you within the industry. It is therefore an honour and pleasure to serve as the President of our beloved Chamber and to lead its engagements and advocacy for the next two years.
The mining industry is confronted with the impact of the current geopolitical tension in the world on the heels of the devastating effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic that we have experienced in the last two years. The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict has affected global supply chains across the world especially the production, procurement, shipping, and delivery of mining inputs. Despite being far from the conflict in terms of geographical distance, global networks have made it impossible for Ghana's mining industry to be insulated from the impact of the conflict. As governments work to mitigate the impact on their economies, corporate organisations, for that matter those of us in the mining industry must also adjust to these dynamics and seek alternative arrangements to assure continuing production.
Hon. Minister, data from World Gold Council (WGC), indicates that global mine gold production in 2021 rose year on year by almost 3% following a rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic induced lows in 2020. The WGC further notes that growth is expected to continue in the same direction in 2022 buoyed by current price levels. This information indicates that the prospects for the year 2022 are high and it is important for industry leaders to leverage the situation and fully recover from the pandemic induced impacts and make progress. Despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, it is my strong belief that industries, including mining will continue to rebound from the COVID-19 induced hardships, to support government's revenue mobilization drive and work in concert with other stakeholders to help develop our host communities.
Africa Mining Sector
Africa as we all know is blessed with many natural resources and contributes significantly to the global extractives industry. The mining and extractive sectors contribute a high share of exports for Africa, hence contributing a considerable proportion of the continent's revenue and foreign currency reserves. However, the full potential of Africa's natural resources remains untapped due to varied issues. Africa's mining industry has continued to demonstrate resilience over the decades despite adverse conditions in the global economy. But to ensure consistent growth and development in the sector, Africa must improve on transparency and continue to build capacity, manage resources effectively, invest in modern technologies and build linkages with other productive sectors.
Despite perceptions that mining firms do not support host countries and communities, there is undeniable evidence that the sector is a significant source of both direct and indirect employment in Africa. Additionally, the sector contributes to the socio-economic development of the continent and being among the top two, if not the number one tax paying industry on the continent. To deepen its contribution, Africa must continue to position itself as the best investment destination to attract the right investors to further explore the untapped resources for the greater good of the continent, investors who respect Environment, Social and Governance frameworks that convert mineral resources into sustainable benefits. But this can only be achieved through political stability, good governance structures, and investment in innovative technologies.
Accordingly, African governments and political leaders must take urgent steps to address political instabilities in some well-known countries to avoid spillovers and retard the progress made so far. It is our hope however that, the continent will enjoy peace and its governments and duty bearers will work towards socio-economic development of the people.
Ghana in Perspective
Honourable Minister. Distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, the mining sector is the largest tax paying sector in the country with significant contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product. It is also by a mile the largest contributor to the country's gross merchandise exports. The mining of other minerals beside gold, bauxite, and manganese such as lithium, and iron ore among others, would deepen the sector's contribution to national development. Further, we believe that the sector can contribute much more to our country if political actors and industry leaders work together towards a common goal. A goal that will make Ghana the leader in mining in Africa and the mining support service hub in West Africa. Hosting the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Ghana is a great opportunity to anchor the attraction of investors into the mining sector as well as its value chain. The Chamber is willing and ready to support and collaborate with government to achieve the objectives of AfCFTA.
Hon. Minister, Ladies, and gentlemen, in 2021, Ghana recorded a string of steep declines in the outturns of production and purchases of its traditional minerals, with manganese and diamond being the outliers. A combination of concurrent reductions in the output of both large and small-scale gold producers led to a 29.92 per cent fall in the production of the country's dominant mineral, gold. The volume of gold attributable to producers in Ghana declined from 4.022 million ounces in 2020 to 2.818 million ounces in 2021, which is the lowest level of output since 2008. This has led to Ghana dropping from the leading gold produce in Africa to the second position.
The large-scale sub-sector's contribution to national gold production decreased from 2.847 million ounces in 2020 to 2.720 million ounces in 2021, representing a downturn of 4.44 per cent. The descent in the sub-sector's output was primarily explained by a broad decline in the output of most mines, with the output of Asanko Gold Mines, AngloGold Ashanti's Obuasi, and Iduapriem Mines, as well as Adamus Resources Ltd, contracting by more than 10 per cent relative to their respective production outturns in 2020. The drop in production, which was moderated by the significant expansion in output from Abosso Goldfields Ltd, was mainly due to operation related challenges.
In the same vein, output of small-scale gold producers, which is proxied by exports of Licensed Gold Exporting Companies (LGECs), plummeted by 91.66 per cent to 0.098 million ounces in 2021 from 1.175 million ounces in 2020. The near collapse in the sub-sector's output was principally a reflection of the producers' response to the imposition of a 3 per cent withholding tax on their output by the government in 2019. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that the impost did not culminate in the cessation of operations, it is believed that it induced the small- scale miners and LGECs to export their output through non-official channels. Since the informality of the sub-sector has made it onerous to collate data on actual production, exports through the national assayer, Precious Minerals and Marketing Company (PMMC), are used as a surrogate for the sub-sector's contribution to national gold production.
On account of the dissimilar production outturns, the share of large-scale producers' share in national gold production increased from 70.78 per cent in 2020 to 96.52 per cent in 2021 with the remaining 3.48 per cent attributable to the small-scale sub-sector. The contribution of the producing member companies of the Chamber to the large-scale sub-sector's gold output was 99.65 per cent. However, member companies of the Chamber's contribution to national output in 2021 was 96.52 per cent. In the previous year, Chamber members contributed 99.93 per cent of the large-scale sub-sector's gold output and 70.73 per cent of the national gold output.
On the other hand, the output of the sole producer of bauxite, Ghana Bauxite Company, dropped from 1.162 million tonnes in 2020 to 0.839 million tonnes in 2021. The cutback in production was largely an outcome of the uncertainty regarding the renewal of the lease of the operator of that mine, Bosai Minerals Group.
On the upside, the exports of diamonds recorded growth for the first time since 2014. The quantum of diamonds exported through the implementer of the Kimberly Process, PMMC, improved by 114.20 per cent. The increase in exports from 25,292 carats in 2020 to 54,174 carats in 2021 was primarily a consequence of high recoveries by artisanal winners, who have been the sole producers of that mineral since the only large-scale producer (Great Consolidated Diamond Company) was put under "care and maintenance".
Likewise, the attributable production of manganese by Ghana Manganese Company, which is the sole producer, expanded from 2.357 million tonnes in 2020 to 3.336 million tonnes in 2021. The 41.52 per cent upturn in production was reflective of a full year's production. In the preceding year, the company's output was adversely impacted by a series of "stop and start" orders by the government.
Macroeconomic Performance of the Minerals Sector in 2021
Ladies and gentlemen, the total direct domestic fiscal contributions of the producing member companies of the Chamber increased from GH₵ 3.973 billion in 2020 to GH₵ 4.611 billion in 2020. The 16.05 per cent expansion in fiscal payments was driven primarily by an upturn in all the direct fiscal streams; corporate income tax, mineral royalties, and employee income tax.
On account of growth in payments by Ghana Manganese Company, Newmont's Ahafo and Akyem mines, Golden Star Wassa Ltd, and Gold Fields' Damang mine, the corporate income tax receipts increased by 9.15 per cent from GH₵ 2.333 billion in 2020 to 2.547 billion in 2021. The moderating influence on the improvement in company profit tax was the decline in payments by Chirano Gold Mines, AngloGold Ashanti's Iduapriem Mine, and the Tarkwa Mine of Gold Fields. In 2021, total corporate income tax payments by producing member companies of the Chamber represented 55.25 per cent of aggregate fiscal payments of member companies and 19.50 per cent of total corporate income tax receipts mobilized by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Similarly, the value of mineral royalties attributable to the producing member companies of the Chamber rose by 37.57 per cent to GH₵ 1.536 billion in 2021 from GH₵ 1.116 billion in 2020. The upswing in mineral royalty, which is an impost on gross mineral revenue, was mainly due to the expansion in mineral revenue of most producing member companies, which in turn was a function of the increase in the price of gold and output. In effect, mineral royalty payments accounted for 33.31 per cent of gross fiscal payments of the producing member companies of the Chamber.
The residual fiscal stream, personal income tax, or pay-as-you-earn (PAYE), improved by a marginal 0.85 per cent to GH₵ 0.528 million in 2021 from GH₵ 0.523 million in 2020. The subdued growth of PAYE was partly a reflection of the ebb and flow of employment in the mining sector.
Despite the expansion in fiscal payments, the contribution of producing member companies to total direct domestic revenue declined from 18.1 per cent in 2020 to 16.48 per cent in 2021 because the growth rate of government revenue exceeded that of fiscal payments of member companies. Further, the members' payments represented 6.69 per cent of domestic revenue and 6.58 per cent of aggregate government revenue in 2021. The corresponding outturns in 2020 were 7.7 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.
Merchandise Exports and Balance of Payments
The proceeds from the export of minerals, which are typically received in US dollars, are crucial to the stability of the financial system and livelihoods. According to the Bank of Ghana, gross receipts from the export of minerals waned from by 25 per cent from US$ 6.998 billion in 2020 to US$ 5.241 billion in 2021. The decrease in mineral export receipts was attributable to the concurrent declines in proceeds from the offshore sale of gold, manganese, and bauxite, which was partly offset by the increase in revenue from the export of diamonds. The revenue realized from the export of gold declined from US$ 6.779 billion in 2020 to US$ 5.083 billion in 2021 due to the contraction in gold production, particularly the near collapse in the volume of gold exports by the small-scale sector. The central bank's data suggests that the gold exports declined by 26.83 per cent from 3.854 million ounces in 2020 to 2.820 million ounces in 2021. Against this backdrop, the share of gold proceeds in mineral export revenue decreased marginally from 97.15 per cent in 2020 to 96.98 per cent in 2021.
As well, revenue from the export of manganese and bauxite plummeted by 16 per cent and 42 per cent respectively. The contraction in export receipts of manganese from US$ 160.95 million in 2020 to US$ 134.81 million in 2021 was a consequence of lower export prices, which was moderated by an increase in the volume of exports. Conversely, the reduction in gross export receipts of bauxite from US$ 37.72 in 2020 to US$ 22.04 million in 2021 was attributable to a simultaneous decline in export volume and price. Notwithstanding the decline in receipts from the export of manganese, its share in total revenue rose from 2.30 per cent in 2020 to 2.57 per cent in 2022. However, the comparable share for bauxite declined to 0.42 per cent in 2021 relative to 0.54 per cent in 2020.
As an outlier, revenue realized from the sale of diamonds increased by 144 per cent, from US$ 0.66 million in 2020 to US$ 1.613 million in 2021. The expansion in receipts, which was explained by higher output and higher realized price, triggered an increase in diamond's contribution to total mineral revenue from 0.01 per cent in 2020 to 0.03 per cent in 2021.
In the light of the fall in mineral revenue, the proportion of aggregate merchandise receipts attributable to the minerals sector reduced from 48.36 per cent in 2020 to 35.60 per cent in 2021. Nonetheless, the mining sector retained its position as the leading source of export revenue since its share in the trade account was higher than that of crude oil and cocoa, which are the other main export commodities. The export of crude oil and cocoa accounted for 26.81 per cent and 19.28 per cent of total export revenue in 2021.
Impact of Mining on the local economy in 2021
Repatriation of Mineral Export Proceeds to Ghana by Producing Member Companies
While the stock of forex is important in bolstering the Balance of Payments (BOP), it is the flow of forex that facilitates the functioning of the financial intermediation system. In that regard, the proportion of export receipts returned to the country through the commercial banks provides liquidity and stability to the forex market.
In 2021, producing member companies of the Chamber returned US$ 4.075 billion of their realized mineral revenue of US$ 4.990 billion to the country, representing 81.7 per cent of their gross mineral revenue and indicates an improvement over the outturn of 71 per cent in 2020. It is worthy of note that the proportion of mineral export revenue returned exceeds the thresholds stipulated in the disparate investment agreements and the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
Expenditure of Mineral Revenue of Producing Member Companies
In 2021, the producing member companies of the Chamber spent US$ 5.861 billion on sourcing a variety of physical and intangible inputs, compensation to employees, honouring fiscal obligations, financing debts, and capital expenditure as well as corporate social investment projects. The proportion of total expenditure that accrued to in- country entities was 67.45 per cent, which translates into a nominal amount of US$ 3.953 billion. The remnant, US$ 1.907 billion (32.55 per cent) was expended on non-resident beneficiaries.
Regarding the in-country expenditure streams, the producing member companies expended US$ 1.856 billion on the procurement of non-energy goods and services from local manufacturers and suppliers in 2021. This translates into 37.20 per cent of their mineral revenue, which was lower than the outturn of 51.93 per cent recorded in 2020. Further, US$ 286.21 million was spent on electricity and US$ 316.72 million on diesel. The expenditure on electricity and diesel translates into 5.74 and 6.53 per cent of mineral revenue and their analogous outturns in 2020 were 3.5 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively. As well, the state received US$ 922.241 million in both direct and indirect taxes, representing 18.48 per cent of mineral revenue. In the preceding year, the state's share of mineral revenue was 16.2 per cent of mineral proceeds. Likewise, compensation to employees amounted to10.94 per cent of mineral revenue, which was higher than the 9.3 per cent recorded in 2020. The nominal equivalence was US$ 545.939 million in 2021. To support the socio-economic development of host communities, producing member companies expended US$ 25.740 million on various corporate social investment projects (CSI). In proportionate terms, the allocation to CSI corresponded to 0.52 per cent of mineral revenue, which was identical to the outturn in 2020.
With respect to offshore expenditures, US$ 831.283 million was spent on CAPEX, US$ 128.863 million on debt amortization, US$ 218.717 million on imported consumables, and US$ 728.543 million as payments to other shareholders. These payments correspond to 16.66 per cent, 2.58 per cent, 4.38 per cent and 14.60 per cent respectively. In 2020, CAPEX constituted 8.8 per cent of mineral revenue while the analogous shares of debt amortization, imported consumables, and payments to other shareholders were 0.46 per cent, 3.78 per cent, and 1.19 per cent respectively.
Workforce of the Producing Member Companies of the Chamber
At the end of 2021, the total number of persons employed directly by the producing member companies stood at 12, 236. This comprised 12,138 local employees and ninety-eight (98) expatriates. The latter represents 0.8 per cent of the industry's direct employees with the remaining 99.2 per cent being Ghanaians
Revenue and Output Performance of the Producing Member Companies in 2021
The gross mineral production revenue of the producing members declined by 2.93 per cent from US$ 5.141 billion in 2020 to US$ 4.990 billion in 2021 due to the reduction in gold revenue, which was moderated by the uplift in proceeds from the production of manganese. In turn, the 3.58 per cent decrease in gold revenue, from US$ 4.999 billion in 2020 to US$ 4.820 billion, mirrored the fall in aggregate production. Conversely, the increase in revenue from the production of manganese from US$ 141,801 million in 2020 to US$ 170,439 million in 2021 was due to the simultaneous growth in realized price and output and was equivalent to 20.20 per cent year-on-year growth.
A string of synchronized declines in the gold output of most member companies culminated in a reduction of production from 2.845 million ounces in 2020 to 2.711 million ounces in 2021. The impact of 4.7 per cent recession in output on revenue was palliated by the modest rise in the gold price and expansion in the production of Abosso Goldfields Ltd, and FGR Bogoso Prestea Ltd.
The output of the Gold Fields' Tarkwa Mine waned by 0.87 per cent from 526,256 ounces in 2020 to 521,688 ounces in 2021. This marginal drop was occasioned by lower tonnes processed. In contrast, the Abosso Goldfields recorded a 14.11 per cent expansion in production from 222,953 ounces in 2020 to 254,409 ounces in 2021 due to the relatively high grade produced from the Damang pit cutback (DPCB).
In the year under review, the share of Gold Fields Tarkwa Mine in the gross gold output of producing mines of the Chamber improved from 18.50 per cent in 2020 to 19.24 per cent in 2021. As well, the Abosso Goldfields mine's contribution to production rose from 7.84 per cent in 2020 to 9.38 per cent in 2021. This implies that the Gold Fields accounted for 28.63 per cent of the Chamber's overall gold output.
At the Akyem Mine of Newmont, production increased by 2.70 per cent to 381,494 ounces in 2021 from 371,476 ounces in 2020. The improvement in output was primarily a consequence of milling higher ore grade, which was partially offset by lower mill throughput, low recovery, and build-up of in-circuit inventory. The outturn of that mine's output in 2021 represented 14.07 per cent of the gold output of member companies of the Chamber, which is a marginal improvement over the outturn of 13.06 per cent in 2020. With respect to Newmont's Ahafo mine, production inched up 0.8 per cent from 480,427 ounces in 2020 to 480,708 ounces in 2021. The contribution of Newmont's Ahafo Mine to the gross gold output of member companies of the Chamber grew from 13.06 per cent in 2020 to 14.07 per cent in 2021.
Thus, Gold Fields Tarkwa Mine retained its position as the largest mine in the country, followed closely by Newmont Ahafo mine. Ayekoo! to Gold Fields Ghana Tarkwa mine and Newmont Ahafo mine.
The AngloGold Ashanti-operated Iduapriem Mine's output fell from 274,537 ounces in 2020 to 201,669 ounces in 2020 due to lower grades from the depletion of ore at "Cut one", delayed waste stripping at "Cut 2" of the Teberebie pit, and the impact of a drawdown on stockpiles. The 26.54 per cent nosedive in production led to a reduction in its share of gold output of member companies of the Chamber, from 9.65 per cent in 2020 to 7.44 per cent in 2021.
In the same vein, a failure of a sill pillar at the Obuasi Mine of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd occasioned the voluntary temporary suspension of mining activities in 2021. Consequently, the mine's output plunged by 15.08 per cent to 108,015 ounces in 2021 from 127,195 ounces in 2020. Unsurprisingly, its share of the gold production in the output of the Chamber's members fell from 4.47 per cent in 2020 to 3.98 per cent in 2021. The combined output of Obuasi and Iduapriem mines was 11.42 per cent of the Chamber's output.
The deferral of the development of secondary stopes due to paste-fill constraints and the slower than planned development rates combined to reduce the volume of ore mined from the underground pit of the Akyempim Mine of Golden Star Wassa Ltd. Although the challenge was partly offset by the processing of higher volumes of a low- grade stockpile, the mine's output declined by 8.18 per cent from 167,648 ounces in 2020 to 153,941 ounces in 2021. Consequently, the contribution of Golden Star Wassa Mine to the gold output attributable to the Chamber declined slightly from 5.89 per cent in 2020 to 5.68 per cent in 2021.
With respect to Asanko Gold Mines, the joint venture mine of Galiano and Gold Fields, production declined from 249,904 ounces in 2020 to 210,421 ounces in 2021. The 15.80 per cent downturn in output was due to lower than anticipated ore grade. As a result, its share in the total gold output attributable to the producing members of the Chamber fell to 7.76 per cent in 2021 from 8.78 per cent in 2020.
The output of the Kinross-owned mine, Chirano Gold Mines, declined by 7.12 per cent to 154,430 ounces in 2021 from 166,276 ounces in 2020 primarily due to a 12 per cent decrease in ore grade, which was partially counterbalanced by an increase in mill throughput. In turn, the rise in mill throughput was occasioned by an increase in mill availability. Owing to the contraction in its output, the contribution of Chirano Gold Mines to total gold production of the Chamber's members ebbed marginally from 5.84 per cent in 2020 to 5.70 per cent in 2021.
Similarly, the gold output attributable to the Edikan Mine of Perseus Mining Ltd shrank from 158,090 ounces in 2020 to 150,330 ounces in 2021. The 4.91 per cent fall in production was mainly explained by lower head grade of processed ore and a slight reduction in the volume of ore milled. However, the improvement in the mine's recovery rate partly offset the impact of the previously cited constraints. Against this backdrop, the mine's share of aggregate gold output of the producing members of the Chamber reduced slightly from 5.56 per cent in 2020 to 5.54 per cent in 2021.
At the FGR Bogoso Prestea Mine, which is owned by Blue International Group, production improved from 29,833 ounces in 2020 to 32,725 ounces in 2021, representing a growth rate of 9.70 per cent. The upturn in production, which translated into an expansion in its share of the Chamber's gold output from 1.05 per cent in 2020 to 1.21 per cent in 2021, was largely a function of an increase in the volume of ore mined and milled.
The gold output of the Nzema Mine of Adamus Resources Limited fell by 13.19 per cent, from 70,701 ounces in 2020 to 61,372 ounces in 2021 due to a decline in the ore grade and mill recovery rate. The moderating influences on the mine's production outturn were the growth in the quantum of ore mined and milled. Owing to the reduction in its output, the contribution of Adamus Resource Ltd to the total gold output of the Chamber dropped from 2.48 per cent in 2020 to 2.26 per cent in 2021.
Finally, the production of manganese rose from 2.358 million tonnes in 2020 to 3.336 million tonnes in 2021. The
41.52 per cent growth in production was largely due to an expansion in the volume of ore mined, which reflected a full year's output. In 2021, a series of regulatory "stop and start" directives constrained the mine from producing in the first quarter.
Outlook of Production in 2022
In 2022, we expect most of the mines to operate at a steady level and thereby address the challenges that confronted their operations in 2021. In that regard, we project an increase in gold output of producing member companies between 2.9 million ounces and 3 million and a corresponding increase in revenue and other benefits to government and other stakeholders.
Making Ghana a Mining Service Hub
Ladies and gentlemen, it is our collective task to position Ghana as the Mecca of mining in Africa and a mining service hub in West Africa, but this requires deep collaboration between government and the mining industry coupled with taking a cue from other countries to promote the country as the best destination for mining business in Africa. Promoting investment in ancillary services is critical to the comprehensive development of the industry. So far, we have seen the establishment of some refineries such as the Gold Coast Refinery Limited and Royal Roxy Gold Refinery in the country. Also, other support services such as contract drilling and mining, analytical laboratories, production of activated carbon, caustic soda, and value addition through the creation of a vibrant jewelry production industry are areas of key interest which need to be supported and promoted to grow the industry and its linkages. Ghana is blessed with key ingredients such as relative political stability and developing infrastructure to support this aspiration; hence it is our expectation that our Sector Ministry and sector agencies will partner with us to promote this agenda.
Government Relations and Communications
Honourable Minister, we deem it a good fortune and an honor to have you as our sector Minister. Indeed, your repeated public pronouncements that underscore your commitment to an enduring partnership with the Ghana Chamber of Mines is worth celebrating. You have not just expressed these commitments but in several instances, acted in accordance with this desire. We are grateful.
Whiles we do not wish to arrogate to ourselves the power to interrogate government policy on the mining industry, it is our humble opinion that prior engagements would prevent surprises and enable affected companies to consider the impact of proposed policies or policy tweaks in their business plans. In a nutshell, we assure you that engaging the mining industry is not only good for business but also reflects the harmony we have maintained with government, a major prerequisite for positioning Ghana as the beacon of mining in Africa.
Adequate security is a critical success factor for mining operations. Security is therefore a major concern for all mining companies in the country as they need the serenity to focus on the core job of mining. With the growing menace of attacks on mine workers, destruction of properties and assets by youth of some host communities, it has become critical that state actors step up their efforts in complementing the private security arrangements of mining firms, considering their investments and contribution to national development. One of the most recent incidents involved a security guard of a member company who suffered gunshot wounds a day after community members and the State security clashed following a protest due to the arrest of illegal miners.
These incidents constantly detract Ghana's ambition to be the leader of mining business in Africa. In the least, such happenings will adversely affect investor plans to acquire assets or even expand their mine operations in Ghana.
Although steps have been taken by my predecessors to address some of these challenges, we continue to face threats from some community members and illegal miners. The contribution of the mining industry in Ghana as well as our desire to position and promote Ghana as a mining support service hub should not be undermined by such incidents. We need to take drastic, deterrent, and urgent steps to stop the issue of attacks on member companies and their employees.
Environment and Sustainability
Ladies and gentlemen, responsible mining and environmental sustainability are at the heart of the ethos of our industry. We are therefore, through practical initiatives, keen to protect the environment before, during and after mining. We will continue to engage and work with the Environmental Protection Agency as well as other partners to promote responsible mining as well as protect our host communities and their ecology.
We continue to learn from each other's best practices to promote responsible mining
According to our immediate past Auditors, Deloitte & Touche, the Chamber kept proper books and our financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of the Chamber as at 31st December 2021 and the financial performance and cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards, (IFRS) and in the manner required by the Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992).
Honourable Minister, Members of our cherished Chamber, ladies, and gentlemen, as I bring my address to a close, I would like to reiterate that our desire to position Ghana as the mining support services hub in West Africa will require a collective effort from industry leaders and policymakers embracing new technologies and the opportunities they bring. Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and big data analytics are key elements for mining firms that aspire to be at the leading edge and be competitive through improving productivity and working conditions for employees. As part of sustainable and responsible mining, renewable energy systems would help reduce environmental impact while big data analytics can help improve a firm's performance with regards to planning, yields and unscheduled equipment downtimes etc. I urge us all to continue to collaborate and share ideas on how we can achieve these aspirations for our industry and country.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to congratulate Mr. George Nutor and Ms. Angela List on their election as 1st Vice and 2nd Vice Presidents respectively of the Chamber.
I would like to assure our stakeholders, especially the Honourable Minister that we will continue to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor and deepen the solid partnerships that exist between our industry and its regulators.
Additionally, I encourage every one of us here to continually play our respective roles in promoting responsible and sustainable mining for the benefit of our people.
I thank you all for your attention.
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