Ghana recently reclaimed its crown as the top gold producer in Africa after surging output by 32% last year; the previous top producer was South Africa. In 2021, Ghana substantially cut output, causing it to lose its top spot to South Africa, though recent production ramp-ups have placed it back in its number-one position.
In 2022, Ghana’s gold output increased from 2.8 million ounces (2021’s figure) to 3.7 million ounces. The nation drove both small and large-scale output sectors to push this growth.
“The large-scale gold sub-sector recorded its highest output in the country’s history in 2022,” Joshua Mortoti, the Ghana Chamber of Mines’ president, explained to members during the annual general meeting.
He continued on to explain how expanding production at existing mines while focusing on output levels allowed the nation to boost the large-scale sector’s contribution to national gold output. The total figure displayed a 13% year-on-year increase.
Mortoti explained that member companies belonging to the mines chamber sold over 77,620 ounces of gold following the Domestic Gold Purchase Programme. The Bank of Ghana created the Domestic Gold Purchase Programme as a scheme to boost gold reserves, and clearly, the efforts are quickly panning out.
“It would be recalled that following the active intervention of the president of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine, which was put under care and maintenance in 2016, was revived in 2019. The Bibiani Mine, which had been dormant for seven (7) years, was also revived in October 2022,” a statement given by the ministry explained.
“The revival of these two mines, the expansion of output by some existing mines, and the reduction of the withholding tax rate on unprocessed gold by small-scale miners, which was introduced in 2015, from three percent (3%) to one and a half percent (1.5%), have contributed significantly to Ghana’s new position on the continent.”
The AngloGold Obuasi Mine successfully ramped its production by 132% in 2022 alone, greatly adding to Ghana’s success last year. The Bibiani Mine provided 52,000 ounces in output after sitting dormant for seven years. Clearly, many of these projects are beginning to pay off.
Ghana has no plan to let go of its title anytime soon. The nation hopes to continually increase production with additional large-scale mining operations.
“In the next two years, gold production in Ghana is expected to increase exponentially, with the coming onstream of three new large-scale mining operations, namely, Cardinal Resources Namini in the Upper East Region, Azumah Resources in the Upper West Region, and Newmont Ahafo North in the Ahafo,” the statement continued.
So, why does Ghana care so much about maintaining its top position for gold output in Africa?
Gold acts as a fundamental support structure of the Ghanaian economy. Last year alone, gold accounted for $6.6 billion in exports. The Ghanaian government is committed to supporting the mining industry as an effort to uplift the local economy through the local participation involved, minerals mined, and value added.
“The innovative Gold4Oil Policy will ensure that we leverage our gold resources through a much more competitive trade and stabilise our currency while delivering cheap oil for our citizens,” the statement explained.
The Ghanaian government and the Ghana Chamber of Mines collaborated through their efforts to achieve higher output levels last year. Moving forward, both entities plan to continue their partnership.
“Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will continue to work with the Chamber and all other stakeholders in the spirit of transparency, integrity, and utmost good faith, to ensure optimal benefits from our mineral resources, particularly through value addition,” the statement concluded.
As gold prices continue soaring above expectations, it only makes sense to see nations collaborating with mining efforts to use the precious metal as a means of economic development. Gold has long served as a critical support tool in economies across the globe, and 2023 proves no different, with nations competing across Africa and the world to be the top gold producer.
For example, Thesis Gold and Benchmark Metals, two major gold producers, recently merged ventures to develop one of the largest gold mining operations in the Toodoggone mining district. Meanwhile, AngloGold Ashanti Limited and Mirasol Resources joined forces to expand the Claudia Gold-Silver Project in Santa Cruz, Argentina. Before that, Eldora Gold received an C$81.5 million investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for expansion efforts at its Skouries project in northern Greece.
As the gold industry continues exploding, we can expect more exciting releases like this coming soon.