Ghana increases industrial gold production by 6% in 2019

Ghana has cemented its position as Africa’s largest gold producer after increasing its industrial gold output by 6% in 2019.

The West African country officially overtook South Africa as the continent’s top gold miner in 2018, when it produced 4.8 million ounces (Moz) compared to South Africa’s 4.2 Moz.

Last year, industrial mines produced 2.989 Moz of gold in Ghana, up from 2.808 Moz in 2018, according to the annual report of the Chamber of Mines, Ghana’s main mining industry association.

The Chamber’s president Eric Asubonteng added that small-scale gold production fell by 20% in 2019 to 1.6 Moz as Ghana rolled out a clampdown on illegal mining or ‘galamsey as Ghanaians call it. Informal gold mining is widespread in the country and associated with smuggling and mercury use.

Mining was the second biggest contributor to Ghana’s government revenue in 2019, after a 70% increase in fiscal contribution to US$701.6 million from $411.9 million in 2018.

Among bulk metals, manganese output increased by 18% and bauxite by 10%. Meanwhile, diamond production dropped by 41% in 2019.

Nonetheless, Ghana was the second most popular destination for mining exploration investment in Africa in 2019, drawing $98.6 million and behind only neighbouring Burkina Faso, which received $132 million of exploration investment.

However, Asubonteng said the COVID-19 pandemic was causing significant uncertainty and could trigger a reversal of investment flows into Ghana. “We don’t know what lies ahead,” he added.