Ghana has directed all large-scale mining firms to divest 20% of their entire stock of refined gold at their refineries to the country’s central bank in Ghana Cedis.

Effective from 1 January 2023, the ruling forms part of the country’s efforts to use gold to purchase oil products, Ghana Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia said in a Facebook post citing Ghana Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Samuel A Jinapor.

Ghana is planning a new policy to use gold to buy oil products, instead of US dollar reserves to tackle decreasing foreign currency reserves.

Bawumia said: “The Bank of Ghana and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) will coordinate with the large-scale mining companies to ensure compliance with this directive.

“The gold to be purchased by the Bank of Ghana and the PMMC will be in cedis at spot price with no discounts.”

The order to sell gold to the government also entails community mining schemes and licensed small-scale miners.

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Bawumia added: “These directives would also help local gold refineries obtain gold supplies from PMMC to support their operations as they work toward obtaining the required London Bullion Market (LBMA) certification.”

AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson was cited by Reuters as saying via email that the firm had not received a formal directive from the government on its gold reserves. The firm is considering studying and engaging with the government upon receiving the order.

Gold Fields, which holds mining assets in Ghana, said the company and other mining firms have already agreed to a gold purchasing programme with the Bank of Ghana.

Referring to the company’s investment for the programme in 2022, a Gold Fields spokesperson said: “We have commenced with this programme and will in total sell 15,000oz to the Bank this year. Next year’s amount is still being finalised with the authorities.”

This year, Ghana’s cedi currency dipped to more than 40% against the US dollar. Since the explosion of its only refinery in 2017, the country relied on imports of refined oil products.