The production of gold attributable to the large-scale sector expanded by 6 per cent from 2.808 million ounces in 2018 to 2.989 million ounces in 2019, an industry statistics and data for last year from the Ghana Chamber of Mines has revealed.
According to the report, in 2019, gold accounted for 93.28 per cent of gross mineral revenue while the respective share of manganese, bauxite and diamond were 6.17 per cent, 0.54 per cent and 0.01 per cent.
The report further reveals that the quantum of gold assayed by the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) on behalf of Licensed Gold Exporting Companies (LGECs), which is used as a proxy for production by small-scale mines, dwindled by 20 per cent from 1.984 million ounces in 2018 to 1.588 million ounces in 2019.
In view of the contrasting performance of the large and small-scale sectors, Ghana’s total gold production declined from 4.792 million ounces in 2018 to 4.577 million ounces in 2019. In spite of the fall in output, the outturn in 2019 was the third highest level of production in more than three decades.
The report also noted that shipment of manganese by the Ghana Manganese Company, increased by 18 per cent from 4.551 million tonnes in 2018 to 5.383 million tonnes in 2019.
In the same vein, shipments of bauxite by Ghana Bauxite Company improved by 10 per cent from 1.011 million tonnes in 2018 to 1.116 million tonnes in 2019. On the downside, purchases of diamond by PMMC fell by 41 per cent from 0.057 million carats in 2018 to 0.033 million carats in 2019.
Data from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) shows that total direct domestic fiscal receipts attributable to the mining and quarrying sector improved from GH₵ 2.36 bn in 2018 to GH₵ 4.02 bn in 2019. The 70 per cent increase in fiscal payments by firms in the sector was occasioned by the simultaneous increase in production and price, particularly, gold. Specifically, corporate tax receipts from the minerals sector increased by 89 per cent to GH₵ 2.27 bn in 2019 from GH₵ 1.20 bn in 2018.
Ghana’s geological landscape teems with a variety of minerals with the commercially exploited ones being gold, diamond, manganese and bauxite.
The main methods of mining in the country are underground and open pit mining. Alluvial mining is also popular in the small-scale sector.
Following a period of general economic decline, Ghana’s mining industry recovered on the back of market-based adjustment policies recommended by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) amongst others abolished restrictions in foreign exchange transactions and imports. As well, the SAP diluted the dominance of the state in general economic activities.
On account of these reforms, the investor community renewed its interest in the economy, particularly, in the mining sector. The mining sector therefore became the pith of government’s effort to revive the ailing economy through the attraction of foreign direct investments (FDI) with its proven associated benefits such as generation of badly needed foreign exchange, employment creation and transfer of technology and knowledge.