Interview: Samuel Jinapor

How would you articulate Ghana’s value proposition as a mining investment destination?

SAMUEL JINAPOR: Ghana should be positioned as the leading mining hub in Africa, where all mining-related activities – including research, innovation, exploration and downstream production – aim to be concentrated. The government is seeking to indigenise the mining sector, with strong local content and participation. Ghana boasts a stable democratic system, where the principles of the rule of law, accountability, respect for human rights, sanctity of contracts and an independent judiciary are the norm. Ghana is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and is one of the first countries to subscribe to EITI principles and apply them to hard mineral resources.

The Minerals Commission’s records have been digitalised to make the application processes easier for investors seeking licences. Similarly, ongoing geological investigations are set to assist potential investors. With the discovery of lithium, Ghana is poised to become a significant player in the green energy transition. Lastly, as host of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, investors in the mining sector can use Ghana as a launch pad to reach the rest of the continent.

To what extent will an integrated iron, steel and aluminium industry drive economic transformation?

JINAPOR: Ghana has been a gold mining country for centuries, and remains the leading gold producer on the continent and the sixth globally. The focus on exporting raw minerals has not allowed the country to reap the benefits derived from adding value to its natural resources. Hence, the government decided to pivot away from mining and exporting to adding value to our minerals.

This led to the establishment of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC); and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) by Acts of Parliament. GIADEC’s mandate is to promote and develop an integrated aluminium industry through strategic partnerships with international and local investors across the entire aluminium value chain, including the mining, refining, smelting and downstream industries. GIADEC is working with investors to develop new mines across Ghana and build refineries, as well as modernise the Volta Aluminium Company, the second-largest smelter in Africa.

GIISDEC, for its part, aims to promote and develop an integrated iron and steel industry utilising contractual links between itself, the government and potential investors to carry out projects along the entire value chain, from the extraction of iron ore and minerals to the manufacturing of iron and steel products.

Global automotive giants like Toyota, Nissan and Volkswagen, which have already established assembly plants in Ghana, can easily serve as off-takers for aluminium products manufactured under this initiative. This integrated value chain will feed not only existing downstream industries, but also emerging ones. With the recent discovery of iron ore in commercial quantities, the strategy is for the mining industry to have adequate linkages to other sectors of the economy and transform the country through industrialisation.

What is the role of technology in improving the land tenure system to enhance investment?

JINAPOR: Most of the challenges that occur with the land tenure system stem from technology gaps in harmonising land title registration. The Land Act of 2020 seeks to promote efficient land tenure and land administration, with the government working to digitalise the records of the Lands Commission. This is being done in phases, starting with moving some services of the Lands Commission online, such as conducting searches to establish ownership of parcels of land. Investors can easily search for ownership records to determine the status of land. With the right financing arrangement in place, the government is working with the private sector to digitalise all records of the Lands Commission.