The President of Ghana, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has on Tuesday 5th February, 2019 stated that while the mining industry on the continent plays an important role in the economies of many African countries, “the pursuit of gold and other minerals have reduced many of our forests to degraded lands [and] some of our rivers to polluted bodies”
The President was speaking at the 25th Mining Indaba in Cape Town South Africa. The four-day conference and exhibition, which is under the theme: ‘Championing Africa’s sustainable economic growth’ has brought together major players in the mining industry around the globe.
President Akufo-Addo, who was in attendance as a Keynote Speaker, expressed regret at the devastation that mining has wrought on many parts of the continent as a result of greed and personal aggrandizement.
“For centuries our minerals have been the attraction for adventure and fortune seekers”
“Many foreign throws and crowns are adorned with the gems taken from our land. Not only through straightforward means… and diamonds from our lands are sometimes labelled blood diamonds,” he lamented
“Many of the areas [these minerals] are mined look like the most deprived places on earth”
Nana Akufo-Addo being ushered around the Ghana Pavilion at the Mining Indaba
“But people of Africa do not have to be poor for others to be rich”, adding, there is a need for a more sustainable approach to mineral exploitation to benefit both investors, host nations and communities.
“After centuries of exploitation, Africa is currently still home to 30% of the world’s mineral reserves and an even higher proportion of deposits of gold, diamonds etc… With our continent having been blessed with so many minerals, it is not surprising that mining has always played an important role in our lives,” he stated.
He averred that mining remains an important undertaking as everyday life is depended on minerals extracted, hence the need to ensure that it benefits the larger society rather than a select few.
“Most of the things we use, for example, the smartphones we own; the coins we spend to the electricity we consume emanate from metals and minerals that have been mined… Mining is a necessity and not just an indulgence to satisfy aesthetics or curiosity,” he said.
He commended organisers of the Mining Indaba for creating the platform for minerals ideation and urged participants to ensure that discussions are progressive and relevant to the needs of Africa and its people.