For decades South Africa was the leading producer of Gold in Africa and was closely followed by Ghana, but that has now changed.
Latest studies have revealed that Ghana has now toppled South Africa to become the leading producer of the precious commodity on the continent.
Ghana produced 4.8 million ounces of gold in 2018 compared to South Africa’s 4.2 million ounces.
The 2018 figure represents a 12% jump in gold production in Ghana as compared to the previous year, according to Ghana’s chamber of mines.
But small producers account for the largest share of the total mines. Ghana however in recent years is restricting small scale mining done illegally.
Bloomberg reported that it’s recent research showed that high cost of production as well as labour issues have troubled the mining industry in South Africa.
Friendlier policies and lower costs
Ghana however has friendlier policies and new development projects. The new investments and lower cost of production has helped the West African nation.
The Bloomberg report also revealed that companies like AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. “are shifting their focus to other countries”.
Ghana apparently is one of the countries these companies are moving to due to cheaper deposits easier mining processes.
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Just last week the largest remaining gold miner in South Africa, Sibanye Gold Ltd announced that it was cutting some three thousand jobs.
That was due to an ongoing restructuring process according to the company. It said that became necessary due to financial losses at some of its Beatrix and Driefontein shafts for two years now.
South Africa though is still the country with the world’s second-largest reserves of gold, according to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Leading miners in Ghana
Ghana continues to be home to some leading gold mining companies including No. 1 producer Newmont Goldcorp Corp.
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The company is exploring new sites in Ethiopia with Ghana the only place in Africa where it operates.
Newmont’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Goldberg was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that Ghana is “an important part of our portfolio and, geologically we see really good potential to continue to expand. We’re very happy operating in Ghana.”
There are predictions that Ghana will have a further boost soon. AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi operation, previously overrun by illegal miners is to restarts later this year.
Production from Obuasi is forecast at 350,000 to 450,000 ounces of gold annually during the first 10 years.