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.
As part of his ongoing working-visits to State Enterprises, the MD of State Enterprises Commission, Hon Asamoah-Boateng, was on Thursday, 28th June 2017, at the Precious Minerals Marketing Company [PMMC].
In his welcome address, the new MD, Mr. Opare-Hammond took Hon Asamoah-Boateng and his team through the history of his outfit. Precious Minerals Marketing Company, he said, “was incorporated 1989 and is currently wholly-stated-owned”. And as has been the story of most of these SOEs, Mr. Hammond gave a deeply worrying narration of current state of the Company’s finances where it is saddled with a whooping Ghc60m, with Ghc45m owed to banks.
Mr. Opare-Hammond revealed how the company’s finances have been in sturdy decline from Ghc116m to a paltry Ghc24m as at 2012. He narrated a case where, in 2013, an investment of “Ghc2m into gold with the hope of being sold when the price of the commodity appreciated, rather ended in a huge gamble following drastic drop in prices”
He said the main source of income of PMMC is “testing of gold to determine and approve the purity and authenticity”. But even here, he continued, “the job is not on large scale because most of these large mining companies have established their own testing facilities and therefore fly the commodity out of the country, without certification and authentication by PMMC which has the global credibility to undertake these tests”.
Mr. Opare-Hammond said his outfit currently makes about Ghc30, 000 and Ghc50, 000, daily, and this goes directly into settling debts to the banks”. He therefore asked Hon Asamoah-Boateng to use his good office to come up with an arrangement with the banks, to renegotiate the debts of PMMC, which are legacy debts, in order to afford his outfit some space to operate and also manage the debt payments.
In response, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng expressed his warm gratitude to Mr. Opare-Hammond and his management team, and promised to take up their concerns with all seriousness in order to ensure the survival of this very important state asset”. He again reiterated plans he has for the “rapid revitalization of most of these SOEs” which he fondly describes as SLEEPING-GIANTS, and bring them to the state of “viability where they can make significant contributions to the economy”.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng was accompanied on the visit by his team from State Enterprises Commission comprising Mr. Justice Abeeku Newton-Offei, a Presidential Staffer, Mr. John Kwesi Mensah, Ag Executive Dir., Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Benjamin Tetteh Ozor, A Senior Consultant, Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Nixon Noah, ICT Officer and Mr. Daniel Kudzawu-D’Pherdd, ICT.