The Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources in an attempt to monitor the actual volumes of bauxite and manganese entering the Takoradi Habour for export has commissioned a weigh-bridge at Apemanim in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, during the commissioning, said the weigh-bridge is crucial for the country to track the export of such products and their revenues.
“Apart from the longer distances and the cost involved, transportation of these minerals by road has other consequences such as road traffic, safety challenges to communities along the haulage corridor, and rapid deterioration of the road network due to a mismatch between the road’s capacity and haulage vehicle axle loads. Most of these challenges, as well as allegations of inaccurate reporting of figures, are as a result of lack of enforcement and poor monitoring of bulk hauling activities”
The Minister said, this weak monitoring mechanism results in a huge loss of revenue to the state.
“It, therefore, became necessary to put in place a robust system that will help us determine, accurately, at each given time, the actual volumes of these minerals transported, and the amount due the state… Consequently, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources took the decision to construct two (2) weighbridges, one here in Apemanim, which we’ve commissioned, and another in Awaso in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipality of the Western North Region. These bridges will help us track and confirm actual volumes hauled from the mines to the Takoradi Port… In the absence of a functioning refinery to add value to these minerals, the tracking of their export is very crucial, as it is the main source of revenue generated from their production”, he said.
While assuring of the Ministry’s plans to collaborate with relevant agencies, including the Ghana Highway Authority, to ensure accurate reportage of minerals transported and exported, Samuel Abu Jinapor also re-emphasized government’s commitment to ensure local processing of Bauxite and Manganese for full benefit to the country.
“In the medium to long term, however, Government is committed to ensuring that we add value to these minerals in order to reap their full benefits. Through its Four Project Agenda, the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), is working to add value to our bauxite and build, here in Ghana, an integrated aluminium industry. This will see to the expansion of the Awaso bauxite mine together with a refinery, the development of new mines in Nyinahini and Kyebi together with refineries, and the modernisation and expansion of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) to smelt alumina refined here in Ghana.”
“The Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC), is also working to add value to our manganese deposits to build an integrated iron and steel industry. Pending these far-reaching measures, we must ensure that we get value for what we produce. This bridge we’re commissioning does not only inure to the benefit of the Government, but also the mining companies and the communities in the catchment areas of the mine.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, on his part also expressing the benefits of the weigh-bridge, indicated that it will prevent the fast deterioration of the road due to the overloaded haulage trucks.
“We know for a fact that the vehicle that plies these roads, especially the heavy-duty ones, has a lot of effects on our roads. Therefore, it is important that they pay and account rightly to the people through the measures we are putting here. Before this was installed, we knew that the measurements of bauxite and manganese always do not correlate with those outside other countries… So if we are able to get it right here, we are going to get more development for our mineral resources. It is, for this reason, I am so happy having the privilege of being the Minister for Western Region during the inauguration and commissioning of this bridge”, he said.