Government has directed the Ghana Chamber of Mines to work with the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) to check the real amount of gold exported out of the country.
The directive follows a number of undervalued quantities of gold declared in Ghana against high values of the commodity recorded abroad.
A recent case was revealed when the gold export record from Ghana to Saudi Arabia was two billion dollars but the foreign country receipt showed over four billion dollars.
Speaking at the Conference on Fiscal Management of Mining and Petroleum in West Africa, Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia stated that government will no longer accept the situation where gold is exported out of the country without assessment from the PMMC.
He bemoaned the habit where multinational mining firms operating in Ghana on their own, examine the gold they produce and export without the involvement of the PMMC.
“In Ghana the major mining firms have been assaying gold mined from their mines by themselves before export, even though the law empowers the PMMC to do so,” he stressed.
Dr. Bawumia described the development as unacceptable since export of gold is a major source of revenue to government.
“While we must be careful not to impute, and no such thing is being alleged, it is also not acceptable that for a very long time, an institution of state with the power to help in properly accounting for our mineral resources was not enabled nor allowed to perform its job,” he said, adding that “This has to change”.
He disclosed that government and the relevant stakeholders have commenced work to make sure the PMMC vets every bar of gold that leaves the country.
“Thankfully, we have now begun conversations about the process of making sure every single bar of gold leaving our shores is properly weighed, tested, valued, and accounted for. While the process may not be as robust as we want it however a positive step,” he maintained.
The Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) is set to commence the official examination, determination and analysis of all gold for export by large-scale miners in the country from January next year.
According to Kojo Opare-Hammond, who is the new Chief Executive Officer of PMMC, the government intends to extend the supervision which since 1989 had been reserved for small-scale miners to the large-scale sector to ensure equity.
“PMMC is mandated by law to grade, value and assay all precious minerals, including gold. This was reinforced in November 2016 when then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, designated PMMC as the National Assayer of all gold before export,” a statement by the CEO indicated.
Mr Opare-Hammond said PMMC had already built an Assay Centre at the Aviance Cargo Village at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), and was in the process of upgrading the centre to accommodate the large-scale miners as well, adding, “This will ensure the smooth delivery of assaying services to all gold exporters in Ghana, including the large-scale miners.”
The statement said the PMMC would soon announce the revocation of all licences issued for buying and selling of gold and diamond, pointing out, “All existing licence holders shall be required to renew them in December 2017 ahead of January 2018.”
It said PMMC “shall be liaising with the security agencies to clamp down on all persons operating illegally within the downstream sector of the precious minerals industry.”
The release said the PMMC, set up in 1989, is taking such steps as part of the government’s effort to widen the tax net and improve revenue generation in the country.
According to the statement, the new administration is determined to discharge its duties fully to ensure that the government derives maximum benefit for the purpose for which it was established.