Minister of Lands and Natural Resource, Nii Osah Mills says major plans are underway to set up a gold refinery to enable the country add value and fetch higher dividends from gold production.
“Ghana needs to have a major gold refinery and there are plans to see how that can be put together, but they remain plans at this stage; they has not been firmed-up or operationalised.
“We are looking to see how to firm-up those plans as they are on the drawing table. We are trying to look at the pros and cons but certainly it is on the drawing board; at a later stage we will make a pronouncement,” Minister Mills told B&FT in Accra.
Government early this year announced its readiness to partner any investor to help establish a gold refinery plant for adding value to the country’s gold.
Owing to the fluctuation of global gold prices, the establishment will set the country on a better standing, as it is better for the country to add value to its precious metal to get real monetary value from it.
Ghana, the second-highest gold producing country in Africa after South Africa has attracted major multinational mining companies including Newmont Mining Corporation, Gold Fields Limited, AngloGold Ashanti, Golden Star Resources among others. Artisanal gold mining is believed to have started as far back in the 14th century.
These companies export the raw metal for processing overseas due to lack of in-country refinery.
Currently, Asap Vasa Company Limited, a multi-million dollar high capacity refinery plant, is the only major gold refinery plant in the country — operating and refining 100 kilogrammes of gold daily into granules, coins and bars, and is owned by four young Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
The refinery purchases all of its raw gold from licenced small scale miners and refines them to international quality standards of 99.9% fineness for the local and international gold markets.
Minister Mills, inaugurating a nine-member board of the Minerals Commission in Accra, said government has devoted a lot of resources to nurture the Commission since its establishment to create an attractive investment climate.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the mining sector has over the years played a major role in development of the country’s economy.
“Through the work of the Commission, the economic contribution of the country’s mining sector has progressed steadily, over the years.
“There is however room for improvement, especially in the social and environmental dimensions of the sector’s impacts, to ensure that benefits to Ghanaians are maximised,”
Mr. Mills explained that the focus of the sector has been on a few minerals — notably gold, bauxite, manganese and diamonds — with gold, being the most prominent.
He noted the need to diversify the country’s minerals base with other minerals which the country has the potential to produce.
“I urge members to formulate policies to expand and diversify the mining sector and shift the over-reliance on the exploitation of traditional minerals, and also improve the capacity of small scale mining operations and reduce illegal mining.
“Members of the Commission must help government secure the continued development of a thriving mining industry that will contribute to sustainable economic development of the country,” he stated.