Ghana is a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Amongst these resources are gold, diamonds, timber, bauxite and manganese, to name a few. So, it is no surprise that from 1821 to 1957, the current territory of Ghana used to be called the Gold Coast by the British. Such a wealth of resources sparked interest for the mining industry, with plenty of mining companies in Ghana looking out for revenue.
Let’s take a look at the main mining companies in Ghana today.
History of Gold mining in Ghana
Gold rakes in a lot of revenue for Ghana and is second only to crude oil. The west African country has a long history in gold mining dating back to even before the 11th Century, before the arrival of the first Portuguese (1471) on its shores.
Gold was mostly used in making traditional ornaments in pre-colonial Ghana. When the Europeans found how rich the West-African country was with gold, they named pre-colonial Ghana “Gold Coast” to signify to the world that they had discovered a country with an abundant gold reserve.
As trading went on, competing interests brought about a bid to monopolize and control the gold trading. This went on until 1874 when the British established a Gold Coast colony. Later, two successful gold rushes in the early 1900s cemented Obuasi, Tarkwa and Prestea as the go-to areas for gold mining.
Fast forward to 2021 and Ghana is the 2nd country that claims the top spot in gold export in the world, with the other country being South Africa. In fact, Ghana edged out South Africa in 2020 producing 5 million ounces of gold against the 3.5 million ounces produced by South Africa.
Ghana is the 6th largest gold producing country in the world. The mining industry accounts for over 50% of foreign direct investment and is the largest tax paying sector in the country. Prior to 1983, most Ghanaian mining production was state owned, but since the economy recovery program, Ghana has attracted foreign investments and pushed toward privatization and state divestiture.
The sector is now largely foreign owned, but the Government of Ghana still holds a minority (10%) free carried interest in most of the main active large-scale mines with the small-scale mining regulated by Ghanaian authority and reserved for Ghanaians.
Ghana’s mining production is largely driven by gold, contributing more than 95% of the country’s total mineral revenue. Large deposits of gold reserves can be found in towns like Tarkwa, Obuasi, Dunkwa, Prestea, and Dumasi among others.
These reserves of gold are mined by local and foreign companies. Below, you’ll find the main mining companies in Ghana.
Main mining companies in Ghana
Anglo Gold Ashanti
Created through a merger of Anglo Gold and Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, Anglo Gold Ashanti which is headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa, mines gold from large deposits from the Obuasi & Iduapriem reserves which it owns. The Government gains 1.8% share of their mining output with the company producing an animal output of 250,000 ounces.
Newmont is based in the U.S.A, the world’s largest gold mining company. The company mines in areas like Kenyasi (Brong Ahafo) and New Abirem (Eastern Region). It produces an annual output of 700,000 ounces of gold, making it the largest gold mining company in the country. They have engaged in a lot of corporate social responsibility projects and are well known.
Perseus Mining (Ghana)
Perseus Mining company is an Australian mining company that mines gold in the Ayanfuri reserves (Central region). The company produces excess of 40,000 ounces of which the Government owns 12%. Founded in 2003 and starting operations in the Ivory Coast, Perseus has decided to specialize in the West African markets and are doing well.
Prestea Sankofa Gold
Established in 1994, this Ghanaian owned mining company mines gold from the Prestea mines (Western Region) and produces in excess of 30,000 ounces of gold with the Government having a 10% share. They make annual sales of approximately 220 million dollars.
Gold Fields Ghana
This South African based company mines gold in the Tarkwa and Damang deposits (Western Region) and produces in excess of 800,000 ounces of gold annually. The Government of Ghana owns 10% of the recorded output.
Apart from these companies and many more that mine gold in Ghana, many small groups of people also do small-scale mining, many times illegally. Some of these miners risk their lives and get into poorly designed and ventilated shafts to mine gold. The locals call them Galamsey.
Ghana has been a major player in the gold trade. Over the years, it also trades in diamonds which are mined at yielding areas like Akwatia. During the 1920’s Akwatia was one of the most productive diamond spots in the world. The area was rich in Gemstones, which was abundant on the bank of the Birim valley.
The Birim valley in Akwatia has remained a prolific source of gemstones for years. These diamonds are mostly mined by small scale miners who mine from alluvial and in-situ deposits.
The Ministry of Lands and natural resources
This ministry is responsible for formulating policies and exercising oversight responsibilities for all land and resources in the country. The ministry oversees all aspects of Ghana’s mineral sector and serves as the repository for the country’s geoscientific data.
Ghana Minerals Commission
The minerals commission is responsible for regulating and managing the use of Ghana’s mineral resources for coordinating government policy related to them. The commission which is a subset of the ministry of lands and Natural resources enforces environmental health and safety standards in the country’s mines and ensures that mining companies and all mining related activities comply with Ghana’s mining and mineral law.
If you want to check out the process for acquiring a mining license, you have to look up the website of the Ghana Minerals Commission.
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