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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 13:12 GMT
Ghana opens forests to miners
Molten gold
Gold is Ghana's main foreign currency earner
Ghana - Africa's second biggest gold producer - is to grant mining licences in its protected forest reserves to attract new foreign investment.

"Our doors are open," Mining Minister Kwadwo Agyei-Darko told a conference in South Africa.

"The government has committed itself to measures that will enhance mining and restore it to its former glory."

Ghana produces, annually, about 2.2 million ounces of gold, representing about 45% of foreign currency revenues.

Mining licences will be granted to the world's largest gold miner, Newmont, and Ghana's Ashanti, Australia's Red Back and Canada's Nevsun Resources.

Newmont plans to invest $450m in two gold mines - Akim and Ahafo - the former of which is in a forest preserve.

The move would create about 1,000 jobs directly.

New legislation

The announcement coincides with a rise in the price of gold to six-and-a-half year highs, fuelled by investors seeking safe investments as a war on Iraq looms.

Mr Agyei-Darko said he hoped there would be further investment after new legislation covering royalties, dispute settlement and acquisition rights is in place later this year.

"This will prevent conflicts that have characterised the present system," he said.

Low gold prices and depleted reserves have depressed investment in Ghana in recent years.

Ghana also has rich bauxite, aluminium, and salt reserves.

And Mr Agyei-Darko said an unspecified stake in the state-controlled diamond company Ghana Consolidated Diamond Mines would be sold.





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SEE ALSO:
Gold price sparks a new rush
13 Feb 03 |  Business
Ghana's gold dilemma
04 Feb 03 |  Africa


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