An estimated value of US$27billion worth of gold export has been recorded since starting the National Assay Programme in 2018 which is under the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), according to the Managing Director of PMMC, Nana Akwasi Awuah.
This is equivalent to a total weight of gold at 18 million ounces. It is made up of 6.6 million ounces of gold valued at US$9.2billion from the artisanal small-scale mining sector representing 40 percent, whereas the large-scale sector contributed 11.3 million ounces of gold valued at US$17.9 billion, being 60 percent.
The development shows a gradual increase in gold export as a result of the reduction of the withholding taxes on unprocessed gold to 1.5 percent from 3 percent.
Speaking at the digitalised National Assay Laboratory launch at the National Assay Centre in the Kotoka International Airport, Nana Akwasi Awuah said: “By going digital, the lab is now able to produce computer-generated Assay Certificates with distinct security features”.
Additionally, he said, this has made it possible to obtain data on gold exports in real-time, while being able to generate varied reports on gold exports.
The PMMC says it hopes to collaborate with the Minerals Commission to develop a traceability system. This will track the chain of custody of gold dore right from the producing miner to its final destination.
It is expected that all of these efforts, coupled with the Community Mining Scheme, will put Ghana on the international map as a credible, responsible source of gold; and make the country a potent and sustainable minerals hub.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, also speaking at the ceremony, said the digitalised National Assay Laboratory ties in with government’s agenda, which aims at streamlining governance by cutting down on the human interface and making processes digital and more efficient.
The digitalised lab’s completion, he acknowledged, comes on the back of the president’s directive to identify a way of independently verifying gold exports. This is to ensure that the country obtains due revenue from precious mineral resources, he added.
“The programme has been carried out through the National Assay Laboratory, which was first set up and equipped with support from the World Bank through the Minerals Commission. We are grateful to the World Bank for this support.
“Government’s digitisation drive is a key component of the overall economic strategy, because the fourth industrial revolution is upon us and Ghana must take advantage of it if we are not to be left behind,” he said.
The digitalisation drive of government, he noted, is spreading to cover many sectors of the national economy, and helping to address the issues of efficient public service delivery and checking corruption.
He said: “Our approach to improving the delivery of public services is to minimise human contact as much as possible. Consequently, we have embarked on an aggressive digitalisation of the processes in service delivery across many public institutions”.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, also noted that the ministry and its agencies have committed to government’s digitalisation agenda.
This is to move some of the essential services online, “for efficient service delivery, and to reduce the incidents of corruption and interference by middlemen,” he stated.
The new Assaying regime that was established under regulation (3) of the Minerals and Mining General Regulation 2012 (LI 2173) has brought small and large-scale mining companies on board to assay all their produce before export since February 19, 2018.
In fulfilling the directive, a modern laboratory building was put up using a World Bank grant facilitated by the Minerals Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
The PMMC further embarked on upgrading and capacity building exercises that have placed the National Assay Lab in a position to assay all produce from both the small- and large-scale mining companies.
A further upgrade of the Assay Laboratory to fit it with modern fire assay equipment is also ongoing.