Gold production is expected to significantly increase this year, given the huge investments and expansion drive by major mining companies in the country, Dr. Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission has said.
Asanko Gold Mines, Goldfields and Gold Star Resources have all shown signs of increasing production through injection of new capital.
Dr. Aubynn told the B&FT that: “We expect 2017 to be a positive year. We expect that production will go up. I will not be able to tell you exactly how much but we expect production to go up slightly above 2016 figures.
We have very positive expectations for this year and my expectations steams from the fact that there are huge investments by gold production companies. The future, in a few years, looks good for gold production; we are also upbeat about the price. We are not expecting the price to go down as much as it did three years ago. We believe that potentially is good,” Dr. Aubynn said.
Gold production during the 2016 production year stood at about 2.1 million ounces, which represents an increase of 2.77 over the 2015 production figure of 1,977,135.
Diamond production, however, dipped in 2016; down from 106,237 carats in 2015 to 96,992 carats in first quarter 2016 representing a fall of 8.70 percent.
Manganese production recorded a marginal rise of 1.35 percent from 784,547 tonnes in 2016 compared with previous year’s figure of 774,115 tonnes.
“Asanko Gold is now ramping up. Fortunately, Goldfields, after its preliminary agreement with government, has now secured US$1.4 billion to invest in the Damang project. If they are able to go into actual production within the year, then it means that production is likely to go up,” Dr. Aubynn said.
A lot of other underground mining development projects are also expected to come on-stream. Newmont Ahafo’s Subika, Asanko and Golden Star Wassa’s underground mines are expected to come on-stream after receiving approval from the Commission.
“We are excited about Golden Star Resources increasing production through its Prestea underground mines,” he said.
The Golden Star Resource Limited has estimated the development of its underground mine at the Wassa project to produce an average of 163,000 ounces of gold per annum over its production life, with average cash operating costs of US$780 per ounce.
The first production from Wassa underground which begun early this year is estimated to continue into 2024.
Dr. Aubynn, confirmed that the mining industry as a growth pole in the country’s economy which gives credence to the position that there have often been increased foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the sector, rising annual mineral output and value of mineral exports, increased exploration activities with a rise in the number of operating mines, as compelling evidence to support the sector’s contribution to the national economy.
Available figures from the Minerals Commission show that proceeds from the country’s gold production in the first half of 2016 rose to US$1,996.20 billion compared with US$1,653.45 billion recorded in the same period previous year, despite a drop in production.