The Precious Minerals Marketing Company Ltd. (PMMC) has installed new ultramodern equipment at its assay laboratory at the Kotoka International Airport to facilitate testing of gold and other metals for exports.
The new equipment includes X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometer; Electrical Conductivity Tester for Gold; Technical Specifications for Ultrasonic Flaw Detector; Specific Gravity Frame for Density Determination, among others.
Prior to this, the large-scale mining companies used their own assaying facilities and this made it possible for them to export minerals without certification and authentication by PMMC which has the global credibility to undertake these tests.
Commenting on this, Acting Managing Director of PMMC, Venance Dey, said the new equipment will address the age-old problem of gold smuggling which has been a bane of the economy as substantial revenue is lost through this unscrupulous practice.
He further stated that the new facility will bring transparency and accountability in the processing of gold, which makes it possible for all information on the mineral to be documented, stressing that it would enable the government to verify the true value of gold exports, thereby reducing the problem of money laundering in the gold business.
“After the assay, the values are recorded as against the sample weight and this is used to compute the final value of the bullion shipment. At the final destination of the gold, PMMC’s value is reconciled against that of the value of the refinery at the destination to arrive at the final value for the bullion by both the mines and PMMC. This enables PMMC to compute revenue generation, and as such reduces the instance of parent companies in the incidence of under-invoicing.”
Revenue would be enhanced as exporters are obliged to repatriate 70 percent of export value earned of the gold. The repatriation policy would be effectively implemented, and this would ensure that there is enough dollar in the country, which at the end of the day would make the cedi perform creditably against the foreign currencies,” he said.
Mr. Dey also assured that PMMC, together with other state agencies, has monitoring systems in place to check the understatement of revenue by mining companies.
“The gold is received from the helicopter in the company of Immigration, GRA and National Security personnel, who then transport it to the lab for testing. At this point, the immigration staff joins the PMMC officials to check the bullion to ascertain the quantity of the bars is equal to what is declared. This move is to reduce understatement of revenue from the mining companies as PMMC will now assay to know the correct value of bullion that is exported by each company,” he said.
He added that in the coming near future, PMMC would assume full bullion assay, which means that gold would be refined in Ghana to add value before it is exported to other countries.