Bawumia launches digitalized national assay laboratory

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the digitalized National Assay Laboratory in Accra. The new laboratory will enhance operations of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) in the examination and valuation of gold.

Delivering the key note address on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 the Vice President said the digitalization of the operations of the National Assay Laboratory is yet another milestone delivered by the Akufo-Addo government with respect to its drive to ensure efficiency in the mining sector.

Laying the foreground on the pivotal role played by the digitized laboratory, Vice President Bawumia elucidated that corrupt activities which hitherto prevented the state from accruing the maximum funds from the assaying of gold which will no longer exist.

Dr. Alhaji Bawumia who expressed delight with the new digitized laboratory said that reducing the human element in the gold-assaying process does not only reduce the risk of corruption but also strengthen the PMMC to execute with precision its core duty.

He further noted that the fight against the smuggling of gold which proved to be an insurmountable task by past administrators will be quelled by the digitization of the laboratory.

“This ties in with government’s agenda which I have been privileged to spearhead under the auspices of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The goal of this whole agenda is to streamline governance by reducing the human interface and making the process more efficient.

“Digitalization has now made it possible to generate assay certificates which have unique security features. These unique features will make it difficult to follow by gold scammers to facilitate their dubious activities.

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“Digitalization has also made it possible to monitor in real time gold passing through the assay laboratory. It has improved collation of timely data on gold export and revenue to aid national economic planning,” he said.

Giving historical angle to the project which commenced in 2018, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia eulogize the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor for his relentless efforts in actualizing government’s dream of digitalizing the National Assay Laboratory also described the Minister as “the bulldozer “ who gets things done.

Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia also commended the board and management of PMMC for their role for the successful implementation of digitalizing the operations of the PMMC.

On his part, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, (MP) said the digitized assay laboratory is yet another stride made by the Ministry in its quest to have the country optimize revenue generation in the precious mining sector.

He identified among other things the establishment of a gold refinery factory, securing a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Certification and the implementation of far-reaching policies in the small-scale mining sector as some of the achievements chalked by the Ministry.

These policies, Hon. Jinapor explained are not limited to the mining sector but every aspect of the country’s natural resources.

“We are doing all these, as part of measures to make the Lands and Natural Resources sector of our country fit for purpose, for the benefit of Ghanaians. Article 257(6) of our national Constitution, vests all minerals in their natural state in the President of the Republic, “on behalf of, and in trust for the people of Ghana.” The exploitation and utilisation of our mineral resources must, therefore, benefit the people of Ghana, the true owners of these minerals.

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“It is for this reason that, since 2017, we begun putting in place the building blocks to retain, here in Ghana, the full value of our natural resources. We have, therefore, committed to move away from export of raw materials, to value addition and industrialisation, for a prosperous economy. In 2018, we begun, under a Public – Private Partnership, the construction of a four hundred kilogramme (400kg) capacity gold refinery, which is now fully completed, and ready to start refining our gold. This refinery is timely, as the Bank of Ghana commences the purchase of gold domestically to shore up its reserves, and contribute to the retention of the value of our mineral resources”.

Hon. Samuel Jinapor said the Digitalized National Assay Laboratory ties in with Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s vision for the gold sector and that trustees of the country’s mineral resources can at any time irrespective of their location monitor gold exports.

“The Digitalised National Assay Laboratory the Vice President has so graciously agreed to launch today, aligns perfectly with this vision, and will provide real time information of gold exports, for monitoring and planning. It will be accessible to key stakeholders like the President of the Republic, the constitutional trustee of our mineral resources, the Vice President and the Head of Economic Management Team, the Minister for Finance, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and my office,” he said.

The arrival and operationalization of the Digitized National Assay Laboratory is a manifestation of a directive by President Akufo-Addo in 2017 for the independent verification of gold to enable government rake in more revenue from the sector.

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The move also forms part of government’s efforts to attract the needed investment and make Ghana the Mining hub of Africa.