March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Gold production in Ghana, Africa’s second-largest producer of the metal, rose 17 percent in 2012 as rising prices encouraged higher output by companies, the Ghana Minerals Commission said.
Production climbed to 4.2 million ounces from 3.6 million ounces in 2011, Benjamin Aryee, chief executive officer of the Accra-based government agency which regulates the country’s mineral resources, said in a telephone interview in the capital, Accra, today. The 2012 figure beats the commission’s forecast of 3.9 million ounces, he said.
Gold prices averaged $1,668 an ounce in 2012 from $1,572 an ounce a year earlier according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Companies including Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp. and Perseus Mining Ltd. of Australia invested about $1 billion last year in Ghana last year, Aryee said. Gold is the West African nation’s biggest export.
“Gold prices are still appreciable and motivational enough for mining companies to produce more,” he said. “The trend will follow as long as gold prices are high,” Aryee said.
Newmont’s second gold mine at Akyem, located about 125 kilometres (80 miles) northwest of Accra is expected to start commercial production in 2013 with as much as 450,000 ounces annually, the company said on its website.
Bauxite rose to 662,925 metric tons in 2012 from 410,918 tons a year earlier, Diamond output fell to 215,118 carats from 283,368 carats.
Johannesburg-based miners AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. also operate in Ghana, which has West Africa’s second-biggest economy after Nigeria. South Africa is the continent’s top gold producer.
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