Ghana’s gold production records marginal drop

gold-barsGhana gold production last year dropped from 95.1 tonnes in 2015 to 95 tonnes, the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM), Kwame Addo-Kufuor has said.

Mr Addo Kufuor who disclosed this at the 89th annual general meeting of the GCM in Accra attributed the drop to inadequate investment in the sector.

It was on the theme, ‘Sustaining business growth through innovation in a challenging mining environment.’

Mr Addo-Kufuor said Ghana was losing mining investments to Cote d’ Ivoire and Mali due to the unfavourable mining policies and practices.

He said unfavourable fiscal policies and practices such as the imposition of VAT on exploration activities, fixed rate on mining royalties, high utility tariffs and illegal mining, were making the mining sector in Ghana unattractive to investors.

For instance, he said the government at the end of last year owed GCM members GHȻ280 million.

Mr Addo-Kufuor said the sector was crucial to the development of the country and efforts must be made to sustain the industry through favourable fiscal policies, saying the sector was one of the largest contributors to government tax revenue.

The President said total receipts attributable to the mining and quarrying sector increased from GHȻ1.35 billion in 2015 to GHȻ1.65 billion in 2016, representing a growth rate of 22 per cent.

These, Mr Addo-Kufuor said comprised payments of GHȻ399.9 million, GHȻ696.9 million, GHȻ550.7 million and GHȻ0.54 million in Pas As You Earn, corporate tax, royalties and other taxes.

“Producing member companies of the chamber returned $2.30 billion out of realised mineral revenue of $3.25 billion into the country, representing 70.9 per cent,” he said.

Mr Addo-Kufuor further said the producing mines spent $1.01 billion on purchases of goods and services in-country, representing 31 per cent of realised mineral revenue.

“This amount exceeded the 2015 figure of $865 million.  The consecutive increase in spending on local goods and services by the producing member companies mirrors the chamber’s commitment to promoting local content in the mining industry,” he said.

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu in his address said government would address the fiscal challenges facing the mining industry to attract more investment to the sector.

He said the mining industry was an important sector and is critical to the development of the country and government would ensure the industry flourish through friendly business policies.

Mr Amewu said, he would discuss with the Minister of Finance on how best the challenges could be addressed, saying, ‘As a private-sector friendly government, we would ensure we would enact business friendly policies to build a vibrant mining industry.’

He commended the mining companies for their contribution to the Ghanaian economy, and appealed to them to support the government in stopping galamsey.

Mr Amewu said government would not back-track in the fight against galamsey which was exacting a heavy toll on the environment, saying, “Government will not sit down for the environment and river bodies to be destroyed.”

The Chief Executive Officer of GCM, Sulemanu  Koney said 2016 was a challenging year for the mining industry due to the energy crisis, but was optimistic about the growth of the industry this year.

“We are upbeat about the prospects of the mining industry in 2017 as are most connoisseurs.  This optimism is somewhat anchored in the new administration’s policy to facilitate the development of a vibrant and competitive private sector as well as geopolitical and economic events,” he said.

By Kingsley Asare

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