The Ghana Chamber of Mines has revealed in its goal of making the country a mining support services hub in the West African region.
This is according to the Chamber’s 2020 Annual Report.
Already, some steps have been taken by the Chamber towards the realisation of the goal with the commencement of a study to develop some modalities aimed at positioning Ghana as a major mining support services centre in the region.
According to the Chamber, the study is expected to map out the competitive advantage that Ghana has over other countries and to make recommendations to build and sustain support services companies to provide inputs to the mining sector in the sub-region competitively.
The Chamber’s goal to make the country a hub in mining support services is also aimed at taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“Harnessing opportunities that the African Continental Free trade Area presents, requires that we build resilient regional value chains around strategic sectors such as mining, which has become the bulwark in West Africa in the last few years. It is our considered view that the study will be the Chamber’s contribution to give sustainable competitive advantage to Ghana,” said President of the Chamber, Eric Asubonteng.
Mining support services include the provision of support services such as drilling and blasting as well as the supply of mining equipment and spare parts to mining firms.
Gold production volume by Ghana in the year 2020, according to Chamber was the lowest in the last sixteen (16) years – since 2004.
The Chamber intimates that gold production dropped 12.1 percentage points to 4.02 million ounces in 2020 compared with the 4.57 million ounces in 2019.
But despite the fall, the country however, retained its position as Africa’s top gold producer and sixth biggest producer in the world.
Ghana’s closest rival and long-term leading producer, South Africa, also recorded a 13.7 per cent decline in production at 91 tonnes and remained in second place on the continent and tenth globally.
It was not all gloomy on the continent, as Ghana’s West Africa neighbours, Burkina Faso, recorded a 19 per cent increase in production to 74 tonnes on the back of increased production levels by that country’s leading gold producers.
With a combined output, Africa in 2020 accounted for 21 percent of global mine production.
Also, Ghana in 2020 lost its position as the second largest recipient of investments in gold exploration on the continent.
Ghana lost the position to Burkina Faso who in turn lost its enviable position as the largest recipient of investments in gold exploration on the African Continent.
In first and third place are Cote d’Ivoire and Mali respectively.
Cote d’Ivoire’s rise to first place, the Chamber notes is due to a significant increase in budgetary allocation for gold exploration in Cote D’Ivoire – around $105 million.
Total planned gold exploration expenditure in Africa for 2020, according to the Chamber amounted to $590 million.
A reduction by some $25.9 million when compared to the $615.9 million spent by gold mining firms in 2019 – fall in exploration expenditure can be partially attributed to the impact of Covid.