Mining Indaba Day 2: Ghana at the centre of economic development

By Elisee Isheloke, writer, MiningIR

The 25th Mining Indaba will have seen two state presidents giving keynote speeches by the end of the second day. This morning in the main arena here in Cape Town, hundreds of attendees were privileged to follow the president of Ghana, H.E. President Nana Akufo-Addo, talk about mining in his country with a view to how that can contribute to the overall African mining vision.

In the afternoon, H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa) will also address the conference. Apart from those Heads of States, many ministers and delegates from ministry of mines from all the corners in Africa joined mining companies and other interested parties to discuss mining.

It was standing room only, with hundreds of attendees queueing for more than an hour to hear the President speak, with many more unable to gain access.

“Diversity drives competitive advantage”

The President said Ghana believes in partnership and is open for business. Elaine Dorward-King, of Newmont Corporation, highlighted the priorities for that country’s economic development. The company which is well established in Ghana focusses on transforming operational safety performance to maximise their mine plans going forward. They do that by catering for an environment that allows inclusion and diversity as a strategic priority and the company’s value. She said: “Diversity drives competitive advantage” and as such the company strives to promote gender representation which at present is 29% female.

Investment in economic development is being promoted holistically. $467 million was invested to boost the economy and another $4 million used for corporate social responsibilities which also helps promote sustainable development. The company is proud to have successfully created 58 000 jobs using ‘responsible mining’ which is key for local economic development and success.

In light of the President’s goal around partnership and looking to embrace business to make Ghana a premier mining destination, Dorward-King was clear that Newmont shares the same vision and pursues the same objectives. Companies need to ensure they are open about paying tax and other royalties to help their local communities and associated developments. 150 local infrastructure projects have been invested in to date, and although not enough, it’s fair to say the country is now on the right path. The focus needs to be on investing in projects that can bring long term economic development to the majority go the population.

On a final note, the issue about the requirement for skilled, trained staff for the mining industry was discussed. 67% of Newmont’s management are Ghanaian as the organisation seeks a leadership that reflects the reality of the country in which they operate, though this can be a challenge.

Dr Elisee Isheloke, PhD, is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on the Minerals to Metals Initiative in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is writing for MiningIR in a personal capacity.

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