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21.12.2005 Business & Finance

Gold production dips yet Gold Fields shines

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Accra, Dec. 21, GNA - Statistics released by the Ghana Chamber of Mines indicates a general decline in gold production in the third quarter as compared to the previous quarter.

A statement made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Business Desk on Wednesday only mentioned a marginal output of 0.19 per cent in diamond production over the same period.

Outlining the specifics, the statement put gold production in the third quarter at 4.87 per cent compared to the second quarter. It was however up by 11.75 per cent compared to the output for the same quarter last year.

The realized unit price of the metal improved from 427 dollars per ounce in the second quarter of 2005 to 438 dollars in the third quarter.

According to the statement "this however could not make up for the decline in production culminating in a revenue decline of 2.6 per cent from 217.1 million dollars to 211.5 million dollars. Nonetheless gold revenue was higher by 22 per cent compared to that of the same quarter of 2004.

A survey prepared by the Chamber put Manganese production of 349,486 tonnes recorded in the third quarter of 2005 was down by about 24 per cent on the second quarter of 2005 performance. Manganese revenue followed the same trend declining by about 24 per cent during the same period.

Bauxite production also decreased about 47 per cent from 240,598 tonnes of second quarter to 126,518 tonnes in the third quarter. Revenue from bauxite production for the quarter was down by 31.72 per cent on that of second quarter production.

The decline in the volume of manganese shipments, according to the document, is seasonal and in line with the low demand for the product around this time of the year.

On the other hand, the shipments of bauxite reduced mainly due to the strike action by workers of the Ghana Railways Corporation, which stalled railings to the Takoradi port as well as the seasonal low demand for the product.

On company production profiles, the document said, Gold Fields Ghana maintained its leadership position among gold producers, albeit with a reduced share of 36 per cent of all gold output; down from the 39 per cent recorded in the second quarter.

Anglogold Ashanti Obuasi came second with a production of 19 per cent and Abosso Gold 12 per cent while the Iduapriem Anglogold Ashanti mine had 11 per cent. Bogoso Gold Limited and Anglogold Ashanti Bibiani mine followed with six per cent each.

Small-scale miners within the ambit of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company and Wexford Ghana Limited also produced five per cent each.

The document said AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) Iduapriem was the only gold producer to record an increase in the quarter with and impressive 28.13 per cent increase in output from the mine made up for the dips of 8.41 per cent and 7.88 per cent recorded at its sister companies at Obuasi and Bibiani respectively.

AGA group's production of 172,308 ounces was therefore a marginal increase of 0.18 per cent on its second quarter performance. Production at Gold Fields, Tarkwa which witnessed continuous increases in output in the last 5 quarters recorded an output of 174,206 ounces in the third quarter of 2005, representing a decline of 12.51 per cent on that of second quarter of 2005.

Abosso Goldfields, the other member of the Gold Fields Group went down by 1.82per cent over the same period in the same period. The Gold Fields Group's production declined by about 10 per cent from the second quarter of 2005 to 231, 369 ounces in the third quarter of 2005. Wexford Gold Mines' output, which increased by 15.55per cent between the second quarter of 2005 and the third quarter 2005 could not make up for the 11.68 per cent decline at Bogoso Gold Ltd during the same period.

The Golden Star Resources Group's production declined marginally by 0.93 per cent from the second quarter to 53,458 ounces in the third quarter of 2005.

The Precious Minerals Marketing Company's (PMMC) gold purchases from small-scale miners in the quarter was up by 5.62 per cent to 24,862 ounces on that of the second quarter 2005 and significantly higher than that of the third quarter by 583.23 per cent.

On a product basis, the only shine came from diamond purchases by the PMMC from the small-scale miners with revenues increasing by 10.6 per cent from 8,001,660 dollars in the second quarter of 2005 to 8,473,789 dollars in the third quarter of this year.

The document indicated that despite the not-too-impressive overall quarter performance, the cumulative third quarter of 2005 total mineral revenue of 722,590,455 dollars was 21.5 per cent higher than that of 2004.

"With the resolution of the strike action and the expected upturn in gold output it is almost certain that the industry would surpass its revenue of 798, 107,300 dollars recorded in 2004 by the end of 2005," the document said.

"This is expected to increase the mining sector's contribution to the nations merchandise export as well as mineral royalties payments to government."

The statement however, declined to state the exact revenue from royalties paid to government. 21 Dec. 05