<![CDATA[[caption id="attachment_46336" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Galamsey has destroyed most water bodies[/caption] Australian High Commission to Ghana, Andrew Barnes is challenging government to ensure its fight against illegal mining is sustained. Speaking to 3FM News, the Ambassador maintained the move would ensure that Ghana becomes an attractive investment destination. “Ghana has to be attractive for foreign investment and it has to compete with neighbouring countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso who also have great mining wealth. “Ghana’s financial structures have to be comparable and competitive to those countries because we live and work in a global market place. The investor will look at other considerations like political stability so that rules and regulations will not change halfway to affect investment. “Others include transparent environment so that fees, charges and taxes to be paid are visible, safety and security and strength of the workforce. Ghana on all of these has a good standing for investment in the mining sector”. Ambassador Andrew Barnes who also has expertise in Tax Law, Financial reporting, Mergers and Acquisitions argues the issue of illegal mining puts Ghana at a disadvantaged position in terms of investment, revenue generation and leakage. [caption id="attachment_47474" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Galamsey is threatening the country’s water bodies and environment[/caption] Transparency is crucial to good governance; getting the institutional frameworks put in place has been helpful to the Australian government. That is why we are a big supporter of the International Extractive Transparency Initiative, aimed at ensuring transparency on both sides. Galamsey currently has absolutely no transparency and there is huge leakage of revenue potential, and the mount of leakage of gold Ghana is missing out on illegal mining is alarming. The Ambassador further urged Ghana to ensure a strong mining code, legal offices and enforcements in the courts of law to deal with the fight against illegal mining in the country. “Gold mining in Australia is deep mining not artisanal as in Ghana which makes it easier for small scale mining to operate. That in itself is not a problem. The real problem is the illegal small scale mining. “… It’s being financed by people with money and so mechanization is coming into it with people using heavy equipments making it more of a problem. “From the Australian experience, I’d say enforcement and strong legal framework are important. We always had good structures where the police and law could come in and control things”. He added that “a strong miming legal code is also important and must be backed by legal offices and enforcements in the courts law plus alternative livelihood”. The Ambassador also commended the government for tackling the problem head on. “I must give my congratulations to the present government (President) and minster for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu. He is doing a very excellent job because they are not shying away from the problem as in the past”. “They are not ignoring it but dealing with it as should be otherwise Ghana’s environment together with its natural resources would be destroyed. They have also put together the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) which is very comprehensive. Ghana really has no choice but to tackle the problem”. Government has embarked on a massive campaign to eradicate illegal mining which has devastated many of the country’s natural resources, particularly water bodies.