|The Ghana Chamber of Mines has revealed that the mineral revenue of producing members fell nearly 14 per cent to $3.39 billion in 2015, down from $3.94 billion the previous year.
The drop in the mineral revenue is due to low production and the lower gold price as well as decline in shipments of manganese.
The Chamber’s President, Mr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, told the 88th Annual General Meeting of members that, while manganese shipments recorded a dip of five per cent, the volume of gold exports also reduced by 10 per cent.
“2015 was quite a difficult one for the mining industry in many respects, while the economy experienced power crisis, mining companies had to manage falling commodity prices with increase in operational costs,” he said.
Gold revenue, which accounts for most of the mineral revenue, fell from about $ 3.84 billion in 2014, to about $ 3.32 billion in 2015, triggered by a dip in output and purchases.
Total gold output dropped from 3.1 million ounces in 2014, to 2.8 million ounces in 2015, as a result of declines in production at some large-scale mines, including AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi, Newmont Ahafo and Golden Star Bogoso Prestea, and lower purchases by ASAP VASA.
Similarly, the export of manganese reduced from 1.35 million tons to 1.28 million tons in 2015, while purchases of diamond by Precious Minerals and Marketing Company decreased by 28 per cent to 174,000 carats from 240,000 carats in 2014.
On the outlook for the minerals sector in 2016, Mr Addo-Kufuor said the Chamber expected the gold price to remain under pressure for most part of 2016 as the US Federal Reserve Bank eases its quantitative monetary programme.
This, he said, is likely to lead to a rise in interest rates of near money assets and a shift in investors’ portfolio away from gold.
He said the expected reduction in global gold output could moderate the impact of the US policy.
Besides, fresh output from Asanko mine and Golden Star Wassa’s underground mine, is expected to increase the gold industry’s output in 2016, while Ghana Manganese Company is expected to increase its shipments.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, commended the mining sector’s contribution to the economy over the years, especially in the area of job creation and support for government’s national development agenda and sustainability programmes.
He encouraged the mining companies to invest in the exploitation of the other mineral resources, including iron ore, silica and granite.