Ghana’s gold production dropped 12.1 per cent to 4.02 million ounces in 2020 compared with 4.57 million ounces in 2019, representing the biggest fall in 16 years, the Ghana Chamber of Mines said on Friday.
Mr Eric Asubonteng, the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the decline in production in 2020 was the country’s biggest since 2004.
“The performance of Ghana’s minerals sector was muted in 2020 compared to the preceding year,” he said in a speech at the 93rd Annual General Meeting held virtually on the theme: “Positioning Ghana as a Mining Support Services Hub.”
The country, however, retained its position as Africa’s top gold producer despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gold production by Ghana’s large-scale mines fell 4.8 per cent to 2.8 million ounces in 2020, while the small-scale gold production fell 26 per cent to 1.18 million ounces on supply chain disruptions.
The mining sector’s contribution to GDP fell to 7.5 per cent in 2020 from 8.6 per cent in 2019, although the sector remained the biggest contributor to Ghana’s tax revenues and export earnings.
The volume of manganese produced by Ghana’s sole producer, Ghana Manganese Company, declined from 5.383 million tonnes in 2019 to 2.358 million tonnes in 2020.
The 56.2 per cent drop in production was primarily due to the government’s directive to stop the company’s operation, resulting in the suspension of manganese production in the first quarter of 2020.
For diamonds, purchases in 2020 reduced by 25.1 per cent to 25,292 carats from 33,789 carats in 2019 due to the suspension of production by the only large-scale producer, Great Consolidated Diamond Company.
The Ghana Bauxite Company recorded a 4.1 per cent improvement in its output, expanding shipment of bauxite from 1.116 million tonnes in 2019 to 1.162 million tonnes in 2020 due to an improvement in its operational activities.
The mining and quarries sector remained the leading source of direct domestic revenue, contributing 4.17 billion Ghanaian cedis due to an increase in mineral royalty receipts, which partially made up for the reduction in the other sources of revenue from the sector.
The significant appreciation in the price of gold during the year under review increased mineral royalty revenue by 38.20 per cent from GH1.007 billion in 2019 to GH1.391 billion in 2020. Corporate income tax however declined from GH2.269 billion in 2019 to GH2.139 billion in 2020.
On outlook, Mr Asubonteng said the gold output of producing member companies for 2021 is forecasted to range between 3.0 million and 3.3 million ounces.