The Ghana Chamber of Mines has been studying a report which proffers solutions to bridging the gap between indigenous enterprises and the country’s mining industry.

The Chamber in 2010 worked with the Minerals Commission and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to identify 29 product categories which are either already being manufactured in Ghana, or should be assessed for import substitution potential.

The items include steel products, bullion boxes, cement and cement products, lubricants, heave duty electric cables, wood products, HDPE & PVC pipes, caustic soda and ammonium sulphate.

Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Dr. Toni Aubynn, said a gap-analysis commissioned by the industry is nearing completion to better appreciate challenges militating against the local production of identified commodities.

Mining firms in the country are currently mandated by the local content law to procure all their inputs that could be sourced locally.

But local artisans are worried the law will not achieve the intended impact on indigenous businesses until capacities are built to meet contract requirements.

According to George Amakwaah, President of the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization (SMIDO), Ghanaian businesses are challenged in meeting demands of the mining firms due to lack of machinery and low capacities.

“If you don’t have such machines and capacity, how can you supply 100% local content?” he queried. “These mining firms deal with specification, so when they need something from your end and you cannot meet their specification, how can you supply because if you go they’ll reject them”.

Dr. Toni Aubynn shared the concerns and expected mining to be fully integrated into the local economy.

According to him, the Chamber was studying the report from the gap-analysis to see how the mining sector could take advantage of locally produced inputs. He added that local capacity building should be the responsibility of industry and government.

“We would want to contribute to building capacities to close the gap and we think that industry and government could work together to achieve it and I’m happy we’re doing that now”, stated Dr. Aubynn.