UPDATE 1-Ghana sees slight dip in gold production this year

Wed Jun 1, 2016 3:01pm EDT
 
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ACCRA, June 1 (Reuters) - Ghana expects to produce 2.7 million ounces of gold in 2016, down only marginally from last year as new production offsets a decline in output due to lower global prices and ageing mines, the Chamber of Mines said on Wednesday.

Gold is the single biggest revenue earner for Ghana, which is following a three-year aid deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The West African country produced 2.8 million ounces of gold last year, the Chamber's Chief Executive Sulemanu Koney said, down 10 percent from 2014 when AngloGold Ashanti's Obuasi mine laid off workers and all but stopped production.

Revenues declined 14 percent to $3.3 billion in 2015, a reflection of the price slump.

Asanko Gold, which is listed in Toronto and New York and started production in Ghana last month, is due to formally launch next week. Canadian miner Golden Star Resources also plans to start production from its underground mine this year.

Ghana, the second-largest African gold producer after South Africa, is yet to fully recover from a power crisis that has pushed up mining costs.

"The already bad (price) situation is worsened by an upsurge in the activities of illegal miners, who are increasingly invading and causing havoc to concessions," Koney told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of West African miners.

Ghana's mining firms include Newmont Mining Corp and South Africa's Gold Fields. Ghana also produced 1.28 million tonnes of manganese last year, down 5 percent on 2014. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Susan Fenton)