By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, April 17, GNA - The Australian Government, through its High Commission in Ghana, sponsored 30 participants from seven African countries, to study international best practices in managing artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) industry to boost their local economies.
The participants explored the potential of the ASM sector in Ghana and Australia and equipped themselves with the requisite knowledge in the extractives for accelerated development.
The team was made up of geologists, human resource managers, senior environmental officers and laboratory technicians selected from Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Madagascar, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Tanzania.
They participated in a seven-week short course in Ghana and Queensland University in Australia.
The course, christened, “The 2019 Local Economic and Social Development in Extractive Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining” under the auspices of the Australia Awards Africa, started on February 11 and ended on April 12.
The programme afforded the beneficiaries the opportunity to tour some mining communities in Ghana including Tarkwa, Bibiani and New Abirem.
They also visited coal, marble stone and gem stone mining sites in Australia.
The key focus of the programme was to find new pathways to leverage small-scale mining to promote socio-economic development of the rich-natural resource countries in Africa.
Some topics treated during the course included; Entrepreneurship Development, Global Inclusion and Emissions, Leadership and Persuasive Communications and Journalists and Opportunities across the Supply Value Chain Mechanism.
Mr Glen Askew, the Deputy Australian High to Ghana, speaking at a closing ceremony in Accra, said natural resources contributed immensely towards the national development of countries endowed with natural resources and assured the Australian Government’s resolve to continue supporting Africa towards achieving sustained development.
He commended the Queensland University in Australia for its professionalism and creating a platform to enhance the knowledge of the participants in the extractives.
Mr Christopher Anokyi, the Technical Director at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, commended the Australian Government for supporting Ghana’s extractive sector.
He cited the support the Australian Government offered the Government of Ghana towards the designing of the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) Operational Document.
Mr Anokyi said the small-scale mining sector played an important role in sustaining the livelihoods of the people in mining communities and called for strategic interventions to minimize the negative environmental impact associated with mining.
He was of the conviction that the artisanal small-scale mining industry could aid in accelerating Africa’s development process if conscious efforts were made to integrate the ASM into the development framework of the rich-natural resource nations.
Mr Anokyi believed the training would shape the knowledge and understanding of the leadership of the various beneficiary countries to reform the ASM sector in order to boost economic growth and formulate better and well-thought out policies.
Mr Wilson Waanab Zoogah, a Principal Mining Engineer at the Minerals Commission, who was the Course Leader, in an address, said the knowledge and experiences gained from the course had strengthened their resolve to work harder to achieve the desired change in their respective countries.
He commended Mrs Lynda Lawson, the Course Facilitator, for her insightful presentations and deep knowledge on the African mining industry and exemplary leadership, which had created a family bond among the participants.
Mr Zoogah urged his colleagues to make meaningful use of the lessons learnt to become a change agent in their respective countries to eliminate extreme poverty and enhance socio-economic development.