The total volume of gold produced in Ghana declined by about 554,000 ounces (12.1%) to 4.023 million ounces in 2020 despite the windfall in gold prices, the 2020 Ghana Chamber of Mines Report has revealed.
The 12.1% decline in production is the highest year-on-year decline since 2004.
However, Ghana continued to hold on to its position as the largest producer of gold in Africa and the sixth in the world even though the country recorded a decline in output by 12.1%.
According to the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Eric Asubonteng, it was not all gloomy on the continent, as Ghana’s West Africa neighbours, Burkina Faso, recorded a 19% increase in production to 74 tonnes on the back of increased production levels by that country’s leading gold producers.
The decline in Ghana’s gold production was because of a combination of domestic issues and COVID-19- related factors.
While the large-scale sub-sector dropped by 4.8% to 2.847 million ounces in 2020, the small scale sector fell by 26% from 1.588 million ounces in 2019 to 1.175 million ounces in 2020.
Mr. Asubonteng said a positive note, however, was the commencement of production at the Obuasi Mine of AngloGold Ashanti and growth in the output at Gold Fields’ operations as well as the Wassa Mine of Golden Star Resources.
In a marked departure from past years, the volume of manganese produced by Ghana’s sole producer, Ghana Manganese Company, declined from 5.383 million tonnes in 2019 to 2.358 million tonnes in 2020.
The 56.2% drop in production was primarily due to the government’s directive to stop the company’s operation in the year under review, resulting in the suspension of manganese production in the first quarter of 2020.
The downward trend in the purchases of diamond continued unabated due to the suspension of production by the only large-scale producer, Great Consolidated Diamond Company.
In essence, diamond purchases in 2020 reduced by 25.1% to 25,292 carats from 33,789 carats in 2019. Additionally, Ghana’s sole producer of bauxite, the Ghana Bauxite Company, recorded a 4.1% improvement in its output.
The expansion in the shipment of bauxite from 1.116 million tonnes in 2019 to 1.162 million tonnes in 2020 was principally due to an improvement in its operational activities.
In terms of exploration expenditure in Africa, the report said planned investments in gold exploration projects took a dip to $590 million in 2020 compared to the $615.9 million in 2019.
To this end, Ghana dropped from second position to fourth in 2020 behind its West Africa counterparts – Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali – in planned exploration expenditure.
This was on account of a significant increase in budgetary allocation for exploration in Cote D’Ivoire and Mali. Cote D’Ivoire’s planned expenditure stood at $105 million in 2020, displacing Burkina Faso as the largest recipient of gold exploration capital in Africa.
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