Mining: West Africa’s impressive records rescued global production in 2019


Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemanu Koney, has said that the mining industry continued to serve as an indispensable ballast and therefore remained a critical part of the socio-economic growth of the nation in 2019.

He noted that during last year, unfavourable developments in China, Indonesia, South Africa, and Mexico gravely impacted gold production and resulted in a slump in global output.

However, growth in production in other major gold mining jurisdictions, including West Africa’s impressive output, ensured that global production did not hit rock bottom in 2019, he noted in the Chamber’s 2019 annual report.

In the event, Ghana remained the leading producer of gold on the African continent since taking over from South Africa in 2018.

“I am happy to recall that in the year under review, the large-scale mining sector’s gold output for Ghana increased from 2.807 million ounces in 2018 to 2.989 million ounces in 2019, a 6 per cent increase from the previous year’s output. However, gold assayed by the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) on behalf of Licensed Gold Exporting Companies, which represents small-scale production, decreased from 1.984 million ounces in 2018 to 1.588 million ounces in 2019.

“This 20 per cent decrease in the small-scale mining sub-sector resulted in a decline in total gold production from 4.792 million ounces in 2018 to 4.577 million ounces in 2019.

“Consequently, the large-scale sector improved on its contribution to national gold production, from 59 per cent in 2018 to 65 per cent in 2019 whereas the small-scale sector accounted for 35 per cent of national gold production in 2019; a decline from 41 per cent in 2018,” Mr Koney said.

Meanwhile, he added, the bulk mineral sector – manganese and bauxite – recorded 18 per cent and 10 per cent improvements in output respectively.

The shipment of manganese by the country’s sole producer, Ghana Manganese Company, increased from 4.551 million tonnes in 2018 to 5.383 million tonnes in 2019 as a result of the company’s business model which is designed to increase production to meet global demand for its product.

Similarly, Ghana Bauxite Company recovered from the previous year’s slump in production to record a year-on-year growth. Improvements in operational activities of the company resulted in an increase in shipments from 1.011 million tonnes in 2018 to 1.116 million tonnes in 2019.

Regrettably, purchases of diamonds by PMMC fell from 0.057 million carats in 2018 to 0.033 million carats in 2019 due to a 41 per cent fall in production. The persistent decline in purchases of diamonds largely reflects low recoveries from small-scale winners and the continued shut down of the only large-scale producer of diamonds in Ghana.



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