Business News of Friday, 27 July 2012

Source: Ekow Dontoh

Ghana’s 1st quarter gold production rises 64% on high prices

Gold production in Ghana, Africa’s second largest producer, rose 64 percent in the first quarter of 2012 as higher prices led companies to boost operations, according to the country’s minerals commission.

Output in the period rose to 1.53 million ounces, Chief Executive Officer Ben Aryee said in an interview in Accra, the capital, yesterday.

“High gold prices are motivating mining firms to up production,” he said. “New companies have also come on stream.”

Prices rose to an average of $1,689 an ounce in the first quarter from $1,389 an ounce for the same period a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The higher rates make it “profitable for mining companies to mine low-grade ore,” Aryee said.

Bauxite rose to 180,519 tons in the first quarter from 93,776 tons a year earlier, Aryee said. Diamond output fell to 80,988 carats from 94,602 carats while manganese production declined to 401,250 tons from 481,965 tons.

Companies including AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (ANG), Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) and Gold Fields Ltd. operate in the West African nation. South Africa is still the continent’s top gold producer.**