Australia’s African-focused explorers, developers and miners were urged last week to drive a resurgent minerals sector in one of the continent’s hottest gold spots, Ghana. Speaking on the second day in Perth of the three day 2011 Paydirt Africa DownUnder conference, Ghana’s Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, the Hon. Moses Asaga, said the country had the potential to scale-up many of its smaller mining operations – of which there are about 600 – in parallel with its nine major mines.“However, local mining companies lack the capital and expertise for this scale-up and Australians, with their expertise in Africa’s resources sector, are natural partners and we would welcome a higher level of involvement in this development opportunity,” Asaga said.“The reasons are compelling. Ghana’s mineral exports contribute $3.9 billion in overseas earnings and command 6% of our Gross Domestic Product. We are the second largest gold producer in Africa and the eighth largest in the world but we can also offer Australian investors exposure to larger scale diamond, manganese and bauxite opportunities as well as gold.“Significantly, we have to diversify our mineral resource base to achieve increased foreign exchange earnings and optimise tax revenue generation which in turn can further support development of our resources sector.”Asaga said his message to Australian investors was that Ghana was the gateway to western Africa and “collaboration” between Australia and Ghana was the key to achieving mutual benefits. This was particularly so in the immediate years ahead as Ghana moved to open up its considerable offshore oil and gas resources.