Some few days ago, I read with disgust an Oxfam article published on 28th July, 2019 on their website. Titled Buried Treasure- Aussie mining companies behaving badly in West Africa, the article only sought to bury the truth, smearing Perseus Mining (Ghana) Ltd. with untold lies and unfounded facts [Read article here; https://www.oxfam.org.au/2019/07/buried-treasure/]. I was awed by the depth of falsehood in the poorly-researched piece by no other brand but Oxfam.
There is a plethora of concerns that Oxfam raises in the above piece. As a Ghanaian industry player, I can only conclude that they are either uninformed or just being mischievous. First of all, no mining company anywhere in the world takes over what the government should do for its people. It is NOT the responsibility of a mining company to build schools, hospitals and markets. It is NOT the duty of Perseus Mining (Ghana) Ltd. to fulfill the infrastructural needs of Ghanaians within its jurisdiction. It is the duty of the government!
Mining firms pay huge amounts of taxes and royalties to the state. They only support infrastructural projects outside their core duties through their trust funds or corporate social responsibility activities. These mining companies can only take full responsibility of such developmental projects when the government reduces the huge taxes hanging around their necks.
The Ghanaian government gains a chunk of its revenue from mining activities, thus, will never allow Oxfam’s allegations see the light of day. The government will not sit aloof for millions of dollars to be yearly lifted to Australia as purported by Oxfam. Facts stated in the said article are not true. Clearly, it is a ploy to tarnish Perseus’ mining activities in the region, particularly the Edikan mines at Ayanfuri.
For the records, Perseus Mining (Ghana) Ltd. is yet to recover $150 million of funds it has invested in exploration over the last few years. As a company, it is also budgeting to start paying income tax this year as directed by the laws of Ghana. The company has since its inception complied with payment of corporate income tax based on tax laws. If indeed Australian mining firms are behaving badly in West African countries, industry players like us can boldly testify Perseus Mines at Ayanfuri is not one of such. Ghana has one of the most stringent mining regulations in Africa. Mining companies dare not flout such regulations for fear of revocation of their license by authorities.
Oxfam’s charges leveled against Perseus Mining (Ghana) Ltd. are utterly baseless. For them to go such a length to drag Perseus mining operations at Ayanfuri in the mud, it tells of the mischief they may be up to. This is a clarion call for all stakeholders to stay attentive and set the records straight.
This onslaught on the image of Perseus further stains the image of regulators like Minerals Commission, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana Revenue Authority as well as Ghana Chamber of Mines. It tags them as incompetent institutions. Oxfam should have, at least, contacted these regulators (if not even Perseus Mining) and the local government to verify their claims before publishing.
Mining companies often get tax incentives to encourage operation of their mines because these mines provide employment directly or indirectly to a large number of the indigenes. They also support building of schools, hospitals, roads and infrastructural projects for the communities within which they operate. I have always been of the view that government should waive more taxes for the mining companies so as to allow them to fully partake in the infrastructural development within such communities for their development and growth.
Tell you what, Perseus Mining donates money to the Edikan Trust Fund every year to support development of the communities in its operational zone of which Oxfam never mentioned. They equally failed to research on Perseus mining construction of school buildings, two health centers, teachers and nurses’ quarters, ICT centers, community centers, water systems and provision of scholarships and bursaries to students in second cycle and tertiary institutions in communities within its jurisdiction.
Oxfam told a big, fat lie about Perseus Mining (Ghana) Ltd. Come again, Oxfam!
By Frank Horton
The writer is the CEO of MERCTON RESOURCES, a top-notch company that provides varied services to mining companies in the West African sub-region.