Ghana’s total gold production plunged four percent in 2019, but registered its third-best performance in nearly 40 years, data from the Ghana Chamber of Mines showed on Friday.
Total gold output dropped to 4.577 million ounces in 2019, down from the 4.792 million ounces recorded the previous year.
The drop in overall production was due to a 20 percent contraction in the small-scale mining subsector – from 1.984 ounces in 2018 to 1.588 million ounces in 2019.
The ban on illegal mining coupled with the strict regulatory regime has partly accounted for the decrease in the sub-sectors output, said Chamber of Mines President, Eric Asubonteng.
Industrial gold production however expanded 6 percent in the same period to sustain overall performance.
The subsector’s output jumped to 2.989 million ounces of gold in 2019, up from 2.808 million ounces the previous year.
The performance reflected significant growth in production from Newmont’s Ahafo, Gold Fields’ Damang and Asanko Gold Mines, which augmented steep contraction recorded by other large-scale mines such as Golden Star Bogoso Prestea Ltd, Gold Fields Ghana Ltd, and Adamus Resources Ltd’s Nzema Mine.
Manganese and bauxite production expanded 18 percent and 10 percent respectively in the bulk minerals sector. Diamond output, however, contracted 41 percent from 57,531 carats in 2018 to 33,789 carats in 2019.
Despite the mixed performance in Ghana’s total gold output in 2019, the West African nation remains the leading producer of the yellow metal on the continent after taking over from South Africa in 2018.