Current Developments in Placer Gold Exploration in Ghana: Time and Financial Consideration

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1995

KOMLA DZIGBODI-ADJIMAH, Mining and Mineral Engineering, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. SAMMY BANSAH, Geology and Survey, U. S. T. School of Mines, Tarkwa, Ghana

Ghana, a major West African gold-producing country, took a crucial step in 1986 to allow private participation in mining ventures that had hitherto been state controlled and starved of funds. This decision has led to a three-fold rise in gold production with substantial local and foreign capital once again ?owing into exploration and mining projects. Though the rise in gold export is due primarily to increased production from large mines such as Ashanti Gold?elds Corporation, Billiton Bogosu Gold, Tebrebie Gold?elds and Ghana Australia Gold that work primary lode gold deposits on quartz veins and Banket conglomerates, a fair amount of gold comes from placer gold mining from which two new mines have been developed at Kwabeng and Bonte during the current gold boom. Also, placer gold mining is important locally because the lower capital outlay required for its development enables many entrepreneurs to operate small concessions and provide employment for a large pool of unskilled labor. Placer gold exploration and development in Ghana is labor-intensive. Pitting is the most used method although few employ the mechanized (“Banka”) drilling. The advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches in the local setting are discussed. The gravel is normally sluiced and the gold recovered by amalgamation. The drawbacks to successful placer gold exploration in Ghana have been attributed to lapses in execution of exploration programs (DzigbodiAdjimah and Arhin, 1993; Dzigbodi-Adjimah and Gawu, 1994). However, the failure to recognize and set time frameworks and ?nancial limitations for the various stages of placer gold exploration have spelt the doom of some projects. It is critical that the characteristics of the placer gold deposit be determined by ef?cient and cost effective means. A planned exploration supported by adequate ?ow of funds saves costs and leads to success. This article discusses the current Ghanaian situation and presents proposals from case studies for planning and budgeting placer gold exploration programs for use in similar settings.
Keywords: Exploration, Gold exploration, Ghana, Gold mining, Financial limitations.