Government is expected to create over 1000 jobs in 2019 in the mining sector with the construction of a state-owned gold refinery.
The refinery which is expected to cost some $20 million is a public-private partnership between Precious Minerals Marketing Company Ltd (PMMC), and Ghana Royal Gold Limited Company.
Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Benito Owusu Bio tells JoyBusiness, the move is expected to end the era of exporting raw gold out of Ghana.
“The commitment is to ensure that, the foreign partner comes in with the financial commitment and funding to buy the gold from the local market and refine before is exported which should increase the foreign exchange. But whatever profits that they make, PMMC which has shares in equity by providing the Land for the construction will get 20%.
With the structure being on the premises of the PMMC, they have been tasked to ensure that the local content policy is adhered to strictly. For instance, there will be more Ghanaians especially the artisans will get jobs right from the construction stage until the refinery begins operations in 2019.”
Mr Owusu Bio added that “this is expected to create over 1000 jobs for Ghanaians because these locals will be trained which includes technology transfer from the foreign partners.”
Construction work of the refinery is expected to be completed in May 2019 with full operation expected to kick-start in July 2019.
The facility when completed will help reduce the volume of gold exported annually by at least 50 per cent.
Although Ghana is one of the top 10 gold producing countries in the world with estimated production at 92 metric tonnes per year, its quest to add value to the raw gold has not yet been realized.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the PMMC, Dr Kwadwo Opare-Hammond, is confident that the facility will boost the country’s revenue from gold export.
According to him, when the refinery is completed, the PMMC will make sure that only refined gold would be exported out of Ghana and be used for Ghana’s jewellery industry.
“Once we have the refinery up and running, it would ensure that the gold that leaves this country would come through the refinery before it is taken out.
The contractor has assured that construction will be completed by April 2019, and hopefully with the setting up of the equipment, by the first of July 2019 the refinery would take off,” Mr Opare Hammend disclosed,
But the contractors of the facility are optimistic about meeting the 2019 deadline.
Data available shows that, Ghana produces between 400 and 600 kilograms of gold every day, however, this is exported in its raw form.
In 2017 for instance, the value of gold produced according to the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative GHEITI, was 4,919 million dollars, a 17 per cent increase from the figure recorded in 2015.
But some Gold experts believe this value of gold can be ten times higher if it is refined.
As part of the Akufo-Addo government’s plans to achieve its target, this private partnership agreement would better the lots of government as Ghana remains one of the 10 gold producing countries in the world with production over the last three years pegged at 92 metric tonnes per year.
Although the history of the country in gold production dates back to over 100 years, the quest to add value to the raw gold has remained only a dream.