Ghana is top in Africa gold mining, as Nigeria loses out

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Ghana has taken over from South Africa as Africa’s leader in the gold mining industry, data from both Ghana Chamber of Mines and Minerals Council South Africa, show.

The data which cover a period of 2014 to 2018 show that, though Ghana’s output has not increased fantastically since 2014, South Africa’s productions have, however, dropped drastically over the same period.

The reason for the shrinking of South Africa’s output has been attributed to the regular strikes, high cost of production and the difficulty of having to mine from the deep site mines in the country, which has been described as having the world’s deepest mines.

Meanwhile, the biggest economy in Africa, Nigeria, is still struggling to get its house together in the mining industry.

Characterised with artisanal miners, unregulated mining activities and banditry, Nigeria is yet to make significant returns from its deposits of gold across over 15 states.

With the current insecurity in the country, especially in Zamfara and other mining sites, Adamu Adamu, CEO, Adamu Resource, said that cumulatively, Nigeria loses several billions of naira on daily basis as a result of the loss in revenue, expenditure on security, displacement of miners and equipment, and loss of lives and properties.

According to Adamu, if Nigeria had taken mining seriously like Ghana and South Africa, mining would have contributed significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, probably ranking high in the mining index in Africa.

“But presently, Nigeria is not known as a mining country,” he said by telephone to BusinessDay.

Due to the challenges of mining in South African, some big players in the industry such as AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields are considering moving their interest to other countries, including Ghana.

Hilary Nwagwu, a retired university don, said such companies are not looking towards Nigeria because Nigeria has not put in place what investors in the mining industry are looking for.

Insecurity, geological mapping, modern laboratories, consistent government policy are some of the things investors in the industry look out for before going to invest their money in any country.

According to him, if Nigeria had invested in mining industry over the years, the country would have been a choice destination for the miners leaving South Africa.

“They may not consider coming to Nigeria now because we do not even have infrastructure on ground,” said Nwagwu.

Ghana has been able to organise its illegal miners (known as galamsey) into a manageable associations, thereby giving the country more revenue from its gold resource.

Illegal miners remain one of the biggest challenges Nigeria faces in its mining industry.

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