Producing gold isn’t Ghana’s biggest claim to fame, but the country is Africa’s second-largest gold producer, and hosts more estimated reserves than key gold-producing countries like Peru and Papua New Guinea.
Those factors make gold mining in Ghana a pursuit with great potential. In fact, Southern Ghana has been considered one of the world’s most prolific regions for gold discoveries for some time, with both gold producers and explorers enjoying success there.
Ghana also stacks up in terms of gold production — as mentioned, it’s Africa’s second-biggest producer of the metal, and in 2016 produced a 40-year high of 4.13 million ounces. Read on to learn more about gold mining in Ghana, from conditions to the companies that operate there.
Economic and geopolitical conditions
Ghana is classified as a lower- to middle-income economy that is well endowed with natural resources, and the country has seen strong economic growth recently — its GDP grew 5.9 percent in 2016. Aside from gold, the country also exports resources such as cocoa, oil, timber, electricity, diamonds, bauxite and manganese; they are all major sources of foreign revenue.
Ghana’s Minerals and Mining Act was put into effect in 2006, and underwent improvements in 2014 to address an ongoing problem in the country’s mining industry: illegal gold mining. The Ghanaian government has had trouble with illegal small-scale gold mining, and those issues have put pressure on its relationship with China and caused trouble for its cocoa industry. The laws have been updated to criminalize illegal mining operations pursued by both Ghanaian citizens as well as foreigners.
Gold producers in Ghana
Ghana’s annual gold revenues rose to $5.15 billion in 2016, a 55-percent increase from 2015. The rise has been attributed to growth in production at Asanko Gold (TSX:AKG) and AngloGold Ashanti’s (NYSE:AU) projects in the country.
The former brought its Asanko gold mine into commercial production in April 2016, while the latter wholly owns the Iduapriem and Obuasi gold operations in Ghana. Iduapriem produced 214,000 ounces of gold in 2016, while Obuasi produced none as it is currently on care and maintenance.
Another large company operating in Ghana is Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM), which has two gold-producing mines there: Ahafo and Akyem. Newmont was ranked the industry leader in sustainability in 2016 by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and has made the list for 10 consecutive years now.
Endeavor Mining (TSX:EDV) is also a gold producer in Ghana, and its Nzema gold mine is located on the south end of the Ashanti Gold Belt. The mine is 90-percent owned by the company, with 10 percent of it owned by the government of Ghana. Nzema produced 87,710 ounces of gold in 2016, down 20 percent from the year before.
Kinross Gold (TSX:K,NYSE:KGC) holds a 90-percent interest in the Chirano gold mine in Ghana, while the government of Ghana owns the remaining 10 percent. The mine produced 58,253 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2017.
Golden Star Resources (TSX:GSC) has a stake in the Wassa mine through a 90-percent held subsidiary; Wassa has mineral reserves of 1.32 million ounces at an average grade of 2.37 g/t gold. The company also holds the Prestea mine, which has been in operation for over 100 years and produced 89,673 ounces of gold in 2016.
Gold juniors in Ghana
Asante Gold (CSE:ASE) is a gold exploration company focused on Ghana. It has several projects in the region, including the Kubi gold mine, the Keyhole project, the Betenase concession and the Fahiakoba concession. The company’s most recent development is Keyhole.
Castle Minerals (ASX:CDT) currently holds interests in several projects in Ghana, including Julie West and Kpali in the upper west region, and the Akoko project. The company’s Akoko project in Southwest Ghana was recently sold to Terrex. The site has 92,800 ounces of indicated and inferred gold resources.
Xtra-Gold Resources (TSX:XTG) operates its Kibi project in Ghana’s Kibi Gold Belt. The project holds an indicated mineral resource of 278,000 ounces of gold and an additional 147,000 ounces inferred. The company recently prepared its diamond drill for a phase of drilling tests at its Kwabeng mine camp.
Did we miss a gold company that’s operating in Ghana? Let us know in the comments. All companies had a minimum market cap of $2 million as of August 8, 2017.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Sivansh Padhy, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Asante Gold is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.