President of the ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines (EFEDCOM), Kwame Addo-Kufuor, has called for new approaches and stakeholder dialogues to create enabling environments to attract foreign and local investment into sustainable and responsible mining.
He said the time had come to think differently on how to spawn and position local companies to actively participate in mining value chains by manufacturing and selling more to the industry with follow on benefits for other sectors of the local economy.
Mr Addo-Kufuor Jr., who was speaking at the maiden Annual General Meeting of EFEDCOM held virtually, said the COVID pandemic provided a timely opportunity for Governments to do deep internal introspections of their domestic economies to identify areas of competitive advantage and endowment and think new and innovative ways of supporting them.
This will help to stimulate growth and replace the many jobs lost to the pandemic, he said.
“It is a well-known fact that West Africa has huge mining potential, much of which is untapped. Now is the time for new approaches and stakeholder dialogues on how to create enabling environments to attract foreign and local investment into sustainable and responsible mining,” he said.
Mr Addo-Kufuor Jr. said it was sad that most mining operators seeking to meet and exceed current legislation on local sourcing of inputs of production were unable to find manufacturers of inputs who could supply commercial quantities at the acceptable standards of quality.
He called on stakeholders to work together with the mining industry, as well entrepreneurs in manufacturing, fabrication and services provision, to provide the right incentives and training to spawn and support the development of competent local producers of critical mining inputs.
“Mining operators will proudly buy from reliable local sources not only in comply with local content laws, but beyond that as part of our corporate social responsibility to support the creation of jobs, reduction of poverty- and taking the benefits of mining beyond tax and royalty payments into the realm of multiplier impacts on the wider economy,” he said.
To be able to achieve this, he said, there would be the need for dedicated institutions with inter-ministerial support, adding that it would help grow the respective manufacturing base of the country’s in the sub-region.
“The irony is that the mining industry stands ready to be a captive market provided that players can be assured of acceptable quality and competitive prices,” he said.
Touching on small-scale mining, Mr Addo-Kufuor Jr said collaboration of member countries in properly regulating the small-scale mining sector was in the common interest of all.
He said the sector provided a critical source of local employment and also supported the reduction of poverty in many communities, adding that there were significant benefits to be reaped from formalized and environmentally responsible small-scale mining in West Africa, including contribution to mineral royalty and other fiscal payments.
“Crucially, regulators must ensure due governance is adhered to in both small and large-scale mining operations and that all prospecting license and mining lease boundaries (for both small- and large-scale miners) are duly respected and that breaches of all mining laws are quickly remedied. This is an area of opportunity for sharing of knowledge and experiences among member states and Chambers,” he said.
On security threats in the sub-region, Mr Addo-Kufuor said governments needed to address the critical issues of security and stability to be able to attract future global investments.
EFEDCOM seeks to establish close collaboration, alliances, sharing of knowledge and information and governance among West Africa’s Chambers of Mines and Mining Associations.
It also advocates and influences the promulgation of effective policies to promote sustainable and responsible mining in the sub region to ensure a prosperous and vibrant mining industry which benefits all stakeholders.
Currently, the EFEDCOM General Assembly is made up of members from Guinea, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria and Mali and associate institutions whose services and operations impact on the mining industry – such as the Women in Mining of West Africa (WIMOWA) and the West Africa Institute of Metallurgy and Metal (WAIMM).