JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Ghana’s economic landscape has been shaped by the mining sector and, while mineral extraction has contributed to the country’s development path, the extent to which the country has tapped its mineral potential has remained limited.
As interest in the country’s mineral sector grows, it is expected that the potential for more mineral reserves will be unearthed, African Minerals Development Centre coordinator Kojo Busia said on Wednesday.
Addressing delegates at the Cross-Border Mining Services Africa Indaba, in Johannesburg, he said Ghana was a mature mineral producing country that was well poised to take advantage of regional markets for upstream products in the mineral value chain.
“Ghana has a market which is growing. The annual industry procurement spending upstream of the value chain averages $1.2-billion out of a total of $2.6-billion in West Africa,” he said, adding that Ghana has relatively better infrastructure than its neighbours in West Africa.
He noted that trade policies were business friendly and that all international bilateral and multilateral protocols on trade and foreign investments were protected.
“With this advantage, companies establishing manufacturing and production units in Ghana will achieve market stabilisation fairly quickly through consistent orders and use Ghana as a regional hub to grow organically into the larger West Africa mining procurement market,” he said.
Busia stated that, to support Ghana’s broader industrial agenda and leverage the mineral sector’s strength to depart from the traditional raw material exports to creating a more value-added mineral sector, government has set up a comprehensive National Suppliers Development Programe (NSDP).
The NSDP’s long-term strategy and objectives are to scale the upstream value chain of the mining industry through the development of local value addition.
He explained that the elements of the strategy included the formation of industry-based value chain linkages and business clusters, technology and innovation centres, and partnerships with institutions in research and development, enterprise development, and financial and capital markets.
Through the NSDP, the mining industry could anchor Ghana’s long-term industrialisation agenda as skills, technology and capabilities developed over time and it developed efficient and effective linkages with the wider sectors of the economy to fuel the national industrialisation agenda.
“The NSDP will play a major role in the integrated bauxite and aluminum industry project that is soon to take off in Ghana,” Busia said.
He added that the programme has developed a strategy central to which will be the creation of the Mining Business Support Center (MBSC), a primarily industry-led and funded independent organisation.
The MBSC will help local firms understand the performance expectations of the mining companies and build their confidence and capacity to access the opportunities available in the industry,” he said.
He further stated that it will exercise its mandate through partnerships with both local and foreign entities to help local firms overcome all the challenges and constraints that disable them from competing fairly in the industry.
Further, Busia noted that South African and international mining goods and services suppliers would benefit from cost competitiveness by shifting parts of their manufacturing units closer to West African procurement markets through regional hubs like Ghana to benefit from scale.
“This is especially true in the maintenance, services and consumables suppliers market,” he said.