Gold mining isn’t Ghana’s biggest claim to fame, but the country is Africa’s second-largest gold producer. Plus it 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 gold also stacks up in terms of production — as mentioned, it’s Africa’s second-biggest producer of the metal. In 2016, it produced a 40-year high of 4.13 million ounces. Read on to learn more about Ghana gold, 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. The country has seen strong economic growth recently — its GDP grew 5.9 percent in 2016. And while 2017 numbers have yet to be released, growth of 9 percent was reported in Q2 of that year. 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 came 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.
Ghana gold producers
Ghana’s annual gold revenues rose to $5.15 billion in 2016, a 55-percent increase from 2015. However, the government has said that it anticipates that those numbers will shrink in 2017. That’s because it has made an effort to curb “illegal mining which is not good for the environment,” according to Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the country’s deputy minister of land and mines.
The former brought its Asanko gold mine into commercial production in April 2016. The latter wholly owns two gold operations in Ghana: Iduapriem and Obuasi. Iduapriem produced 214,000 ounces of gold in 2016, while Obuasi produced none as it is currently on care and maintenance. 2017 numbers have not been released; however, the company did report $88 million in free cashflow in Q3 of that year.
The country’s largest mine, Tarkwa, is operated by Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI). Tarkwa, along with Damang, another of the company’s West African mines, produced 716,000 ounces of gold in 2016. Annual production for 2017 isn’t out yet, but the company did report production of 145,100 ounces of gold at Tarkwa for Q3.
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 2017 by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and has made the list for 11 consecutive years now. The company also announced in January 2018 that it had ranked 328 out of 500 on Fortune’s list of most-admired companies.
Endeavor Mining (TSX:EDV) used to mine gold in Ghana, but in 2017 privately owned BCM International bought the company’s Nzema mine in the country for US$65 million. Nzema is located on the south end of the Ashanti Gold Belt, and produced 87,710 ounces of gold in 2016, down 20 percent from the year before. No news on 2017 output has yet been released from BCM.
Perseus Mining (TSX:PRU,ASX:PRU) began commercial production at its Edikan gold mine in January 2012. Average gold production is estimated at 214,000 ounces per year over the remainder of its life, which is set to end in 2024.
Major miner 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 65,707 ounces of gold in the third 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 73,827 ounces of gold in Q3 2017. The company won company of the year at the Ghana Mining Industry Awards that year.
Ghana gold juniors
Ghana is home to many major miners, but juniors operate in the country as well. Asante Gold (CSE:ASE) is one explorer focused on Ghana. It has several projects in the region, including the Kubi gold mine, the Keyhole concessions, the Betenase concession and the Fahiakoba concession.
Castle Minerals (ASX:CDT) currently holds interests in several projects in Ghana, including Julie West and Kpali in the upper west region, and previously the Akoko project. The company’s Akoko project in Southwest Ghana was sold in 2017 to Terrex, a private company. 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.
Are you interested in Ghana gold? Tell us your favourite gold companies in the country below.
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 February 4, 2018.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, 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.