Mining promises to give more revenue to offset COVID-19 shortfalls

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… Alliances intensified to address supply chain challenges  

Players in the country’s mining sector, under their umbrella-body the Chamber of Mines, have intensified their collaboration to address supply chain challenges and ensure their operations continue with few hitches amid restraints emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global supply chain disruptions and collapse in crude prices have taken a heavy toll on operations of the oil and gas sector, with some firms in the country – including Aker Energy and its license partners – taking the decision to postpone development of the Pecan Field in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore.

But the mining sector is finding a way around this bottleneck: “Naturally, you are not operating your supply chain at full throttle so you have to be creative and innovative; look at your stock level, checking up on peers in other mining firms looking at what they have and discussing what and what you can share,” Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, told the B&FT in an interview.

According to him this move is to ensure that the mining sector improves on last year’s production of over 4 million ounces of gold, despite the devastating effects of COVID-19. He believes this is possible for the country with the coming onstream of AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine, a ramp up by some miners and the strong demand for gold on the international market, as investors seek refuge from the COVID-19-induced global economic crisis.

“Those conversation (supply chain) continue to go on among the managers. Gold prices are holding firm, what we need to do is have production; a combination of production and business revenue is what the country needs at this critical time. We are an industry, we are more of a cluster of companies with similar interests; globally, what makes clusters effective is the sharing of resources,” Mr. Koney said.

The Chamber has thus constituted a body of supply chain managers who are constantly reviewing development in the sector, forecasting ways to deal with it, and developing pragmatic channels to ensure there are no interruptions; and this is to ensure smooth operation.

“Under the Chamber, we have the supply chain management board and they continue to engage virtually; speaking to each other, finding out what is happening. If there is a problem anywhere, speaking to your colleagues and finding out the best way to deal with it. When you are running out of some input, you communicate it to colleagues and seek their intervention. These are things that were happening between them even before the COVID-19. That relationship should help them weather the storm of COVID-19,” Mr. Koney told this paper.

Last year, large-scale miners – Chamber members – contributed over 2.8million ounces, with the rest of the country’s gold output coming from small-scale and artisanal miners, according to industry watchers. However, this year’s production, according to Mr. Koney, will be higher barring any unforeseen hitches.

Even though this might not be the panacea to government’s revenue shortfalls and the estimated GH¢9.5billion cost of the deadly pandemic to the economy, it will go a long way to provide some cushioning.

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