Ghana officially overtakes South Africa as continent’s largest gold producer

Gold output in Ghana jumped by 12% in 2018 to 4.8 million ounces (Moz), eclipsing South Africa’s output of 4.2Moz for the first time and becoming Africa’s largest gold producer in the process.

South Africa’s gold sector has been in gradual decline for several years, with operators forced to dig deeper into maturing mines at escalating costs, while Ghana is benefitting from low cost mines, friendlier policies and new development projects.

The shifting location of Africa’s primary gold hub is best encapsulated by the likes of AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields – traditionally known as South African industry stalwarts – who have decided to move their focus to other countries, including Ghana.

In addition, Sibanye Gold – the largest remaining gold miner in South Africa – is cutting thousands of jobs and diversifying into platinum group metals (PGMs) in a bid to reduce costs.

Meanwhile, some of the world’s biggest gold miners have committed to Ghana’s flourishing gold sector in recent years, including Newmont Goldcorp – the world’s number one producer.

“It’s an important part of our portfolio and, geologically we see really good potential to continue to expand,” said Newmont’s chief executive officer Gary Goldberg. “We’re very happy operating in Ghana,” he added.