Ghana has become the largest gold producer in Africa, toppling South Africa in a recent data released by the World Bank.
According to data available to the media, Ghana exported 158 tonnes of gold in 2018, about 15% increase over the previous year.
Ghana has thus dethroned South Africa, which produced 139.3 tonnes. The country has returned to the trend of high volume production of gold in the 1980s.
The report said mining firms operating in the country include Newmont Mining Corporation, Gold Fields, Anglogold Ashanti and Asanko Gold.
It noted rural communities in four regions of Ghana currently affected by the environmental damage and pollution associated with destructive artisanal mining and logging practices are to benefit from a scale-up of the Ghana Forest Investment Program.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has recently approved additional financing of $19.39 million to the programme.
The programme is already implementing activities focusing on agricultural drivers of deforestation by working with cocoa farmers and communities to rehabilitate and protect forest reserves.
The additional financing operation aims at complementing these activities by piloting approaches to and benefits of reclamation of mining sites, which will reduce erosion currently polluting public watercourses and engage the private sector in plantation development to reduce pressure on natural forests.
However, China tops the global pact followed by Australia, Russia and the United States of America.
In a related development, billions of dollars’ worth of gold are being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond – a Reuters analysis has found.
Customs data shows that the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006. The total weight was 446 tonnes, in varying degrees of purity – up from 67 tonnes in 2006.
Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states. Five trade economists interviewed by Reuters said this indicates large amounts of gold are leaving Africa with no taxes being paid to the states that produce them.