The security of mining concessions in Ghana will be on a case by case basis, away from the general deployment of the military, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor has disclosed.
Mr Jinapor said that the matter of security at the mines had been raised with the ministers for National Security and Defence, as well as with the National Security Council and that “the attitude of government on this matter is that instead of a general deployment of the military, we should take a case by case approach.”
The minister was speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines in Accra.
“if there are specific concessions that for special reasons require some special deployment, we have to make the special case for that for a decision to be made,” Mr Jinapor stated.
Assuring mining companies of government’s commitment to providing adequate security for their concessions, the minister announced that government was considering a security concern raised by Cardinal Namdini Gold Mine about their proximity to Burkina Faso and the security situation in that country.
“Whatever we need to do to ensure that your concessions are safe, we will do it because it is when your concessions are safe that you can work in peace to support government,” the minister assured.
The Ghana Chamber of Mines has lamented invasions and attacks on defenseless workers which it says has created “a sense of debilitating insecurity.”
“When a mine is unsecured, it does not only threaten continuous production but the livelihood of the ecosystem that depends on the mine: communities, government, suppliers, employees, and shareholders,” he said.
According to the Chamber, the seeming inability of duty bearers to decisively quell the wanton breach of security at one mine serves as an incentive for other miscreants to perpetrate similar brazen disregard for the rule of law.
“This inertia partly fuels the deteriorating security climate at the mines with adverse consequences for all stakeholders. These hikes in security breaches impair the quality of mine assets in Ghana and raise the insurance premia, cost of credit, and replacement cost of equipment,” Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber said in a recent forum. .
Deliberate efforts at attracting investments
Touting the achievements of government and its partners in the mining industry, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor noted that there had been significant investments in the construction of new mines and the redevelopment of existing ones.
“The Bibiani mine, which had been dormant for seven years, was revived in 2022, and we are looking forward to new mines coming on stream, including Cardinal Namdini, which has committed to pour its first gold this year, Azumah Resources, and Newmont Ahafo North,” Mr Jinapor stated.
Outlining some of the measures government had taken to boost gold production, Mr Jinapor mentioned the Community Mining Schemes; the Gold Katchas; the establishment of the Small Scale Mining Committees; the tracking of earth moving equipment; and the reduction in withholding tax on unprocessed gold from 3% to 1.5%, which resulted in over 600% increment in gold exports from the small scale sector.
The minister pledged that “when all ongoing expansion projects come on stream, it will mean that Ghana‘s status as the leading producer of gold on the continent will be consolidated and in the foreseeable future, Ghana will remain the leading gold producer on the continent.”
Gold production to exceed 4.5m ounces
Players in Ghana’s mining industry have projected total gold production in Ghana to exceed 4 million ounces in 2024 from 3 million ounces in 2023.
The miners who are producing members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines attribute the increase mainly to fresh production from Cardinal Namdini Gold Mine and other investments across the country.
President of the Chamber Mr Joshua Mortoti during the Chamber’s breakfast meeting with the sector minister noted that “the additional output from the mine, which is earmarked for the fourth quarter of 2024, will partially compensate for the anticipated decline in output of Newmont’s Akyem Mine and Gold Fields’ Damang Mine.”
Regarding manganese production, Mr Mortoti said the planned output for 2024 is 5 million tonnes.
The output of manganese as of the end of the third quarter of 2023 was 2.16 million tonnes, which was not significantly different from the previous period’s production of 2.103 million tonnes.
Conversely, the exports of diamonds rose by 147% to 202,757 carats in 2023 from 82,252 carats in 2022.
Mr Mortoti told the Minister that the main downside risks to the overall mining production outlook in 2024 remained high fiscal and regulatory costs, encroachment of concessions by illegal miners, and policy ambivalence with respect to the implementation of the Gold for Oil Programme and its impact on the operations of small-scale miners.