INTRODUCTION: Reserves of gold in Ghana are so big that the government believes production could eventually rival that of South Africa.
GV PAN EXT Township of Obuasi around gold mine.
TOP VIEW PAN Conveyor-belt running from mine to processing plant. (2 SHOTS)
GV PAN Flotation and sediment tanks at processing plant.
CU PAN TO GV Sign "Adansi Shaft Gold Mine" and mine head. (2 SHOTS)
SV INT Miners working on ore-face. (4 SHOTS)
SV PAN Ore on conveyor belt.
CU Pots of molten gold prepared for pouring. (2 SHOTS)
SV Gold being poured. (3 SHOTS)
CU Gold cooling off.
SV Pots being cooled with water, and waste products being removed. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Gold being removed and cleaned. (2 SHOTS)
SV Security man carrying gold bars to be weighed.
CU Gold bars being weighed and placed on table. (5 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Reserves of gold in Ghana are so big that the government believes production could eventually rival that of South Africa. At present most of the world's gold comes from South Africa and the Soviet Union, and Ghana's supplies have remained largely untouched. But now the government plans to attract more overseas investment to exploit the gold -- and give the economy a badly needed boost.
SYNOPSIS: Obuasi, a town in the centre of Ghana's gold belt, could have up to 1,300 million ounces of the precious metal in the ground, waiting to be mined. That compares with 22 million ounces of goal produced every year in South Africa.
The government's target is to reach a production level of two million ounces a year -- and it will probably take 20 years to reach that level. But the reserves are thought to equal those of South Africa; what's needed is foreign investment to open more mines.
In fact, Ghana's gold production has been declining since 1960 because of a lack of capital and because the mines are taxed more heavily than in other countries. Now the government is planning to change all that. New incentives will be offered in the hope that companies will have the confidence to make a long-term commitment to Ghana's goldfields.
President Hilla Limann has decided that gold should be given development priority over everything else. He has promised to remove the obstacles that have so far prevented the gold mines from fulfilling their potential. In addition, fourteen new gold mines are proposed at a capital cost of three billion U.S. dollars. The final cost will inevitably be higher, since three billion dollars represents only present-day prices -- but there are already signs of outside interest.
Foreign investors have reacted positively, saying they believe President Limann's plans are realistic. But they've stressed that there will have to be a big change in approach, and soon, for the scheme to succeed and for production to rise to a satisfactory level.
They point out that three of Ghana's four biggest gold mines are state-owned, and that production at these mines is so low that they're in danger of going out of business. An increase of five hundred percent will be needed to meet the proposed target.
After years of military rule, President Limann's government is trying hard to restore the economy. Besides gold, there are other hopeful signs for the future. President Limann said last month that oil may be found in commercial quantities off the coat of Ghana in the near future.