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Ghana Third-Quarter Gold Output Falls 18% as Metal’s Price Drops

Gold output in Ghana, Africa’s second-largest producer, fell 18 percent in the third quarter as declining prices prompted some mines to cut production to rein in costs, the Minerals Commission said.

Production slumped to 840,600 ounces from July through September 2013 from 1.02 million ounces in the second quarter, Ben Aryee, chief executive officer of the state-run mining regulator, said today by phone in Accra, the capital.

“This is to be expected given the current price levels of gold,” Aryee said. “There are implications for revenue as well as employment; companies have scaled down operations.”

Bullion has plunged 28 percent this year, the first annual drop in 13 years and the biggest decline since 1981, as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value amid signs economies are strengthening. Newmont Mining Corp. and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s second- and third-biggest producers of the metal, have operations in the west African nation.

The metal for immediate delivery increased 0.5 percent to $1,200.41 an ounce at 10:51 a.m. in London today.

Bauxite production rose to 246,759 metric tons in the third quarter from 193,876 tons in the second, Aryee said. Diamond output increased to 42,669 carats from 40,869 carats, while production of manganese, used to harden steel, climbed to 520,431 tons from 323,299 tons, he said.

South Africa is the continent’s biggest bullion producer, and Barrick Gold Corp., based in Toronto, is the world’s largest producer of the metal by sales.

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