Accra, Ghana— MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 December 2008 – Ghana’s gold output edged up 2% to 1.9 million ounces in the first nine months of 2008, and higher prices pushed overall mining revenues to US$1.75 billion (R18 billion).
Reporting from here, Reuters quoted the Ghana Chamber of Mines as saying that “while gold production inched up by 2%, conversely the output of diamonds, manganese and bauxite recorded declines for the period.”
Ghana is Africa’s second biggest gold miner after South Africa. It produced nearly 2.5 million ounces of the metal in 2007, when output in the first nine months was 1.8 million ounces.
Gold continues to account for more than 90% of Ghana’s mineral revenues. However, due to high production costs on power and labour, the aggregated average cash margin for gold producers declined by 38.4% in the third quarter of 2008, compared to the previous three months, according to the Chamber.
The Chamber said it expected the trend to continue in the last quarter “since input costs are not expected to fall appreciably, and gold prices are projected to at least stay firm."
Ghana is yet to fully recover from a year-long power crisis that hit the country from August 2006, leading to a 50% reduction of electricity supply to bulk users including the mines.
Big mining operations were forced to invest in their own dedicated power generation units, which can cost around four times as much as grid electricity.
The Chamber of Mines data showed that manganese production had fallen 13.2% to 740 852 tonnes in the first nine months of 2008, but that revenues had risen by 59.8% to US$42 million (R433 million).