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ACCRA, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Gold production in Ghana, Africa's second largest gold producer after South Africa, declined by 10 percent to 2.8 million ounces relative to the 3.1 million ounces recorded for 2014, according to the Ghana Chamber of Mines.

Similarly the value for this gold export fell to 3.32 billion U.S. Dollars compared with the 3.84 billion dollars recorded the previous year.

Revenue from total mineral export also dropped from 3.94 billion dollars in 2014 to 3.39 billion dollars in 2015.

"The reduction in mineral revenue was the result of reduced production and price of gold, purchases of gold and shipment of manganese," Kwame Addo Kuffuor, President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines disclosed here late Friday at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the chamber.

While manganese recorded a dip of 5 percent in total shipment, purchases of diamond by the state run Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) also declined by 28 percent.

Similarly, Ghana Manganese Company's (GMC)'s export of manganese reduced from more than 1.35million tons in 2013 to 1.28 million tons in 2015, revealed Addo-Kufuor, explaining that the decline was the result of the inability of the company's major client to lift Manganese in 2014 and early part of 2015.

The minerals and mining sector however maintained its position as the leading contributor to fiscal revenue with 1.34 billion dollars or 348.96 million dollars during the year under review.

Although he conceded that the new Income Tax Act, (Act 896) introduced by government was well intentioned, the chamber has some concerns about some of its provisions.

According to him the provisions for Ring-fencing, Waste striping cost and non-recovery of Value Added Tax (VAT) are some of the areas the chamber found inconsistent with the consensus arrived at before the law was promulgated.

"The activities of illegal miners on the concessions of certain large-scale mines are a source of concern. These activities resulted in some safety related incidents, destruction of arable land s and pollution of water bodies," Addo-Kuffuor lamented.

He said although there would still be pressure on gold prices due to the easing of Quantitative Monetary program by the United States Federal Reserves, the lower output expected in 2016 would offset the impact of this pressure.

"In Ghana fresh output from Asanko mine and Golden Star Wassa's underground mine is expected to increase the gold industry's output in 2016," the president projected.

On the future of the industry in Ghana he said, " We rightly believe that the benefits of mining should transcend the realm of resource exploration and move on to become a viable catalyst for Ghana's development and that the communities we operate in will build capabilities to benefit them long after the end of current operations."

On his part, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Mines), Nii Osah Mills Said government will continue with steps aimed at dealing with the illegal mining issue.

"Alternative livelihood programs whereby palm seedlings are given to people with access to land and are prepared to go into farming; training for those interested in grass-cutter rearing; using the presidential task force to flush out persons engaged in galamsey.

"And establishment of district mining committees to assist the minerals commission to monitor activities and clamp down on illegal miners, are some of the measures," Mills stated.

According to him, government sees the mining industry as a key partner for accelerated economic growth and development and expects mining companies to continue to play a complementary role in the promotion of the mining industry to make Ghana a preferred destination for mining investment in Africa. Enditem

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