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Ghana to get first state gold refinery by 2019

Oct. 16, 2018, 6:11 p.m.

Ghana is set to reduce drastically the export of unprocessed gold with the setting up of its first national gold refinery by July 2019.

Although Ghana is one of the top 10 gold producing countries in the world with estimated production at 92 metric tonnes per year, its quest to add value to the raw gold has not yet been realized.

Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), has partnered with a private Ghanaian registered company Royal Ghana Gold to establish a 20-million-dollar gold refinery in the country.

The facility when completed, will help reduce the volume of gold exported annually by at least 50 percent.

At a groundbreaking ceremony in Accra, Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Benito Owusu Bio, assured that this dream would be a reality.

“This government will make sure that this is done. This is in line to ensure that we have the capacity. So that later when we say 30 percent is not enough and so we are increasing to 50 or even 100, [then we can].”

“The PMMC is using the land as equity and this is a PPP arrangement where PPMC’s equity in the refinery itself at the percentage of 20%. The construction is being done, the company is going to ensure that they bring in the finance and funding to be able to buy the gold from our local market. And then refine it and whatever profit they make, PMMC makes 20%. The structure is with them here, so they are going to help and make sure that, there is more local content. For instance, there are more Ghanaians who will be employed within here. More Ghanaians will be trained so that there will be technology transfer”.

Chief Executive Officer of the PMMC, Dr. Kwadwo Opare-Hammond, is confident that facility will boost the country’s revenue from gold export.

“What we are witnessing now is the beginning of the construction of the first state gold refinery in Ghana. We believe in value addition; and the best way to add value to gold is to refine it. Though we have got money from exporting gold in its raw form, we can get more money if we refine it. So with this refinery, Ghana is going to add value to gold before it is exported. For the over one hundred and twenty years that we have mined gold and exported from Ghana, we have done it in the raw form. Yes; we have had some money from exporting gold in its raw form, but we can get more money if we refine it and so now with this refinery Ghana is going to add value to the gold before we export.”

He noted that part of the refined gold would be useful for Ghana’s jewelry industry.

“Once we have the refinery up and running it would ensure that the gold that leaves this country would come through the refinery before it is taken out. The contractor has assured that construction will be completed by April 2019, and hopefully with the setting up of the equipment, by the first of July 2019 the refinery would take off”.

Contractors of the facility are optimistic of meeting the 2019 deadline.

Ghana produces between 400 and 600 kilograms of gold every day, however this is exported in its raw form.

In 2017 for instance, the value of gold produced according to the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative GHEITI, was 4,919 million dollars, a 17 percent increase from the figure recorded in 2015.

Gold experts believe this value of gold can be ten times higher if it is refined. As part of government’s plans to achieve its target, this private partnership agreement would better the lots of government.

Ghana is one of the top 10 gold producing countries in the world with production over the last three years pegged at 92 metric tonnes per year.

Although the history of the country in gold production dates back to over 100 years, the quest to add value to the raw gold has remained only a dream.