Ghana overtakes South Africa as the largest producer of gold in Africa
According to the United States Geological Survey, South Africa’s output is shrinking as a result of the high cost of mining, regular strikes and geological challenges.
Ghana has surpassed South Africa as the leading producer of gold in Africa. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) data, South Africa’s gold production fell from 212,571 kg in 2008 to 120,000 kg in December 2018. Ghana’s gold production, on the hand, has continued to increase, from 73,819 kg in December 2008 to 130,000 kg in December 2018.
In March 2019, South Africa’s gold output dipped by 18 percent. The country’s statistics agency, Statistics South Africa, reported that gold production contracted for 29 months to January 2019. But according to the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the country’s gold output jumped 12 percent in 2018.
According to USGS, South Africa’s output is shrinking as a result of the high cost of mining, regular strikes and geological challenges. Two of the leading gold miners in South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd., are shifting their focus to other countries – including Ghana – where deposits are easier and cheaper to mine. Sibanye Gold Ltd. is also diversifying its portfolio into platinum-group metals and cutting thousands of jobs in a bid to manage costs.
According to Ghana’s Chamber of Mines, small producers account for the largest share of the total production in the country; although, the country hosts some of the world’s largest gold miners such as Newmont Goldcorp Corporation.
“It’s [Ghana is] an important part of our portfolio and geologically we see really good potential to expand,” said Gary Goldberg, CEO of Newmont Mining. “We’re very happy to be operating in Ghana.”
With the reopening of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd in Obuasi, Ghana, later this year, about 350,000 and 450,000 ounces of gold are projected to be produced annually during the first decade of operation.
In South Africa, however, a dearth of exploration and investment gold mining means the industry will further shrink. “As South Africa’s 130-year-old industry limps toward its final years, mining investors must look beyond gold for better returns,” Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, said. “Gold is an old sector and naturally it will decline. New minerals that are discovered are becoming more important.”
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