Accra, Ghana — 25 September 2013 – Gold output in Ghana, Africa’s largest producer after South Africa, may fall as much as 18% this year in the wake of declining prices which have prompted some mines to cut their production.

Production retreated 6.4% in the second quarter to 1.021Moz from a revised 1.092Moz in the first quarter of 2013, Ben Aryee, CEO of the state-run mining regulator, the Minerals Commission, told Bloomberg News in an interview.

“Gold volumes will definitely decline,” he said. “The price slump is a matter of grave concern for the sector, and companies are scaling down operations,” he said, without giving a production estimate in ounces for this year.

Ghana’s gold production climbed to 4.3Moz in 2012 from 3.6Moz the previous year as global prices rose for a 12th consecutive year. Then prices slumped 19% this year as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value amid signs that economies are strengthening. Gold reached US$1,180.50 an ounce in London on June 28, the lowest since August 2010.

Current price levels mean many companies “will have to lay off workers or close,” Aryee said.

Bauxite production fell to 193,876t in the second quarter from 249,114t in the first. Diamond output increased to 40,868.93cts from 35,988.38cts, while manganese production slowed to 323,299t from 434,240t, Aryee revealed.

Source: Bloomberg News.