ACCRA, Mining companies operating in Ghana have renewed their plea for government to reduce the relative high operational cost which they say is impacting their activities.

They contend that the development has compelled some companies to relocate to neighbouring Ivory Coast while Burkina Faso and Mali continue to attract new exploration activities compared to Ghana.

The 1st Vice President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Eric Asubonteng stressed the critical need to address the situation so as to avert devastating impact on the economy.

The SNL Metals and Mining report indicates that for the past five years, Burkina Faso for instance has obtained a higher exploration budget and activity than Ghana. The data further indicates a sharp increase in exploration spending in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, he noted.

We have seen some mining companies relocate their head office from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire in recent years, he said at the 89th Annual General Meeting of the Chamber in Accra.

According to him, the country could be eroded of the global recognition for its mining relevance should government fail to solve the threatening issue.

We cannot continue to pay lip service to Ghana’s position as a preferred mining destination because we may awaken one day to the realisation that we are falling behind in the perking order.

Citing some amendments to the Minerals and Mining Amendment Act 2004, Asubonteng also appealed for economic respite for mining companies.

If Ghana wants to remain competitive, we must admit that the fiscal regime governing the sector is a disincentive to businesses and investors.

It is time for the government to take a position on the issue of royalty payments as has been addressed by the Minerals and Mining Amendment Act 2004 (Act 900) which empowers the sector minister to determine the rates based on the sliding scale approach, he asserted.

Gold production surges in 2016

Meanwhile in 2016, gold production and purchases went up to 4.13 million ounces; up from the 2.84 million ounces in 2015.

This represents a 45% increase within the one year period. According to the mines chamber, the 2016 figures have been the highest in nearly four decades.

In the Annual report, the mining and quarrying sub sector led the domestic revenue sources to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The sector’s contribution increased from 1.35 billion cedis in 2015 to 1.65 billion cedis in 2016.