Ghana to suspend issuing new gold prospecting permits.

Ghana is to suspend issuing new gold-prospecting permits while it carries out an audit of existing licences to free up unused concessions for prospective investors, the chief executive of the minerals commission said on Thursday. 
There would be an initial 90-day moratorium on new prospecting permits which could be extended if necessary, commission head Tony Aubynn told Reuters.


The West African state produced 4.29 million ounces (122 tonnes) of gold in 2013, down 0.7 percent from the previous year, he said. The country's mining industry was hard hit in 2013 by a slump in global gold prices.
"There is need to clean up the system because we have realised that many companies are holding on to vast concessions granted them several years ago without undertaking any prospecting work on them," Aubynn said.

Ghana's laws allow people prospecting for gold to hold their licences for up to three years after which they are expected to apply for a mining lease.
"So we are saying that when you get your license and we see you don't do any prospecting on the land, we would have to apply the law and take it from you," he said, adding that several companies had been holding land for more than a decade.

The biggest gold miners operating in Ghana include AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont and Gold Fields.

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