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Ghana asks miners to increase savings

Kwabena Duffuorl,
Ghana’s Finance
Accra, Ghana — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 April 2009 – The government of Ghana is appealing to mining companies operating in the West African country to increase their savings with local banks as part of an overall effort to help shore up the national currency.

At the moment, mining companies in Africa’s second biggest gold producer say they plough back about 50% of their earnings into the Ghanaian economy through local purchases for their operations. Ghana would like the companies to hold more of their earnings from operations with local commercial banks, rather than bringing money into the country through the central bank as needed.

Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor, who met the mining companies last week, stressed that he had merely appealed to them, and had not made any demands. “I sat with them and encouraged them to keep their savings at the local banks. It’s an appeal – a moral situation – and nothing is binding,” he told Reuters. “The meeting ended on a positive note, and we are waiting to hear favourably from them,” he said.

AngloGold Ashanti and Newmont Mining Corporation both said it was too early to say what their responses would be.

AngloGold Ashanti corporate affairs manager John Owusu, told Reuters the company had received the appeal in good faith, but a final decision rested with management in South Africa.

“It is possible we’ll respond positively to this appeal, but it is a decision for the corporate office to take,” he explained.

Newmont Mining Corporation external affairs manager Chris Anderson, confirmed that the company had attended the meeting, and that it was about how much the companies could keep in commercial banks in Ghana. He said it was too early to tell what Newmont’s response would be.