The monetary worth of gold that left the shores of Ghana through illicit small-scale mining (galamsey) in 2016 has inched up.
“As I speak today, in the year 2016, $2.3billion worth of gold left this country through illicit mining,” Mr. Amewu told journalists in Accra.
According to him, his outfit is putting together a team to investigate the trend and curb the menace.
He also said there is the “political will” to fight illegal mining following the election of Nana Akufo-Addo into office as President.
Mr. Amewu believes that the “militant approach” used in the past has not solved the problem.
In February 2016, CEO of the state-owned Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), George Abradu-Otu expressed concerns about the quantum of gold revenue Ghana loses through illicit gold mining activities.
He believes that the poor nature of mining towns in Ghana such as Obuasi, Tarkwa, Prestea, and Dunkwa, underscored his assertion that the country had not benefited from the commodity.
According to him, the situation is different in Johannesburg and Pretoria, which are also mining cities in South Africa – the world’s largest gold mining country – where the benefits of the commodity can be seen and felt.
“Ghana is the second-largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa. We’re the 8th in the world, [but] what do we have to show for it? If you ask me whether gold has benefitted Ghana, I’ll say no.”
He said there were a lot of syndicates which were circumventing laid-down procedures through corrupt means, in exporting gold, thus, robbing the country of foreign exchange.
His comments came after the impoundment by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), of 12 boxes which contained gold bullion that weighed about 480kg at the Kotoka International Airport. The bullion was valued at US$18million.
It belonged to two Indian firms and three Ghanaian companies and was bound for Asia and the Middle East – particularly India and Dubai.
The PMMC official said most of the gold from Ghana ended up in India, where the precious mineral is an essential part of Indian culture.
He also said other foreign gold dealers who had been aided by the PMMC to export their gold with the understanding that they would repatriate the revenue back into the country had failed to do so, leading to pressure on the local currency.
The Bank of Ghana, in 2015 says a total of $3.2 billion worth of gold was exported from Ghana by both large and small-scale miners.