Ghana has an extensive history of gold production. It is believed that West African gold from Ghana featured prominently in trade along routes through the Sahara for several thousand years. Gold of ancient Egypt and Rome is believed to have been produced, in part from Ghana. This knowledge led the Portuguese to seek a sailing route from Europe to West Africa in 1471 (Griffis, et al.,2002).
Ghana produced gold through artisanal means until British colonialists discovered gold and developed mines in the late 1800s. The largest and most extensive of these is Obuasi which has recorded production exceeding 30M oz of Au during the 113 years of continuous production (Ashanti Goldfields website). Numerous other placer and hard rock mines were developed and abandoned during colonial times and prior to gaining independence in 1957. In the last 12 years, Ghana has undergone a resurgence of exploration activity with several major international mining companies (Newmont Mining Corp., AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields and Kinross Gold Corporation), committing significant resources to operations in the country.
Through this heritage of gold mining, the country features two mining colleges and a workforce knowledgeable and trained in the disciplines of geology, exploration methods and mining engineering. The public has largely adopted mining as a key and integral part of their personal and national economic activity. In fact, much of the population derives its economic livelihood from artisanal mining. Drainages throughout much of the southern part of the country have been significantly disturbed through historic and current artisanal mining activity. Ghana currently produces approximately 3M oz of gold per year, which places it as Africa's second largest gold producer after the Republic of South Africa.
Ghana operates politically through a stable parliamentary system yet also honours an historic chief system with a complex hierarchy branching downward from an Ashanti king, through four "paramount" regional chiefs and then down to district and village chiefs. Ghana is a strongly Protestant Christian country but approximately 20% of the population is Moslem, most of whom live in the northern part of the country.
Ghana is a modern developing country with strong economic ties in West Africa and with Europe and North America. It is the world's second largest cocoa producer and is emerging as an oil-producing nation through newly discovered offshore fields. The People of Ghana are part of a new growing economy with an emerging middle class eager to embrace European-style consumer lifestyle. Those in the rural sector are subsistence farmers who participate actively in local market commerce where food and artisanal goods are traded and sold. Sport, particularly football (soccer) is actively pursued and enjoyed by most of the nation.
Ghana - Largest Gold Producer in West Africa
- World class gold producing regions - Ghana is the focus of many major and mid-tier gold miners (AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont Mining Corp., Gold Fields Ltd, Kinross Gold Corp., etc).
- Ghana globally is a top-ten gold producer - additional increases are anticipated by industry
- Politically stable - strong property and mining laws (no changes since 1994), solid infrastructure
Ashanti Gold Belt - An Interesting Part of Our History
- The Ashanti Belt is one of the world's premier belts (Golden Mile, Western Aus; Carlin, NV; Witwatersrand, South Africa)
- West Africa has produced >500M oz Au (Klemd et al., 1996) with the greatest portion from Ghana
- West Africa gold is believed to have been an important component of Egyptian and Roman gold supplies
- Ghana gold was a priority to Prince Henry and the first Portuguese traders who landed in Ghana in 1471
- Emerging new belts with new discoveries (>30 M oz discovered and/or mined) in the past 10 years
- New belts are becoming credible as initial work turns small discoveries into major deposits (e.g.Newmont's Ahafo); 10 years ago, Ahafo was a surface anomaly