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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Government & Politics

Government & Politics
Conventional form:  Republic of Ghana
Former:                   Gold Coast
Digraph:                  GH
Capital:                    Accra
Independence:        6 March 1957 (from UK)
Type:                      Constitutional Democracy
Executive:               President, cabinet 
Legislative:              Unicameral National Assembly
Judicial branch:        Supreme Court
No. 1 - 1956; suspended 24 February 1966
No. 2 - 1969; suspended 13 January 1972
No. 3 - 1979; suspended 31 December 1981
No. 4 - approved 28 April 1992 (operational)
Legal System
based on English common law and customary law;
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
National Holiday
March 6: Independence Day
July 1: Republic Day
Presidential: held December 2008
Parliamentry: held December 2008
Suffrage: Universal at 18
Next: 2012

At a glance
Land area: 92,100 sq miles (238,537 km²)
Capital: Accra Independence: 6 March 1957
System of government: Multiparty democracy
President: Pro. John Atta Mills  
Ruling party: New Democratic Congress (NDC)
National population: 22.3 million
Languages: English is the official language. Local languages include Akan,Ga, Ewe, Dagbani, Hausa
Religion: Christians 43%, Muslims 12%, Traditional 45%
Currency: Cedis and Pesewas
Main exports: Cocoa, Gold, Timber, Oil

History of Gold Mining in Ghana

Ghana has a long history of mining, especially for gold. Gold from West Africa was traded to Europe at least as early as the tenth century. Most of this gold came by Sahara caravan, the original sources being the kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. In the early colonial time, it is thought that annually more than a quarter of a million ounces of gold reached Europe from African sources. Based mainly on native workings, numerous gold deposits, both bedrock and placer, were rediscovered during the latter part of the nineteenth century throughout Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, and the other nations of the Gold Coast. 
The Precambrian auriferous Tarkwa conglomerates of Ghana were developed in a modern way during the period 1876-1882 by Pierre Bonnat, the father of modern gold mining in the Gold Coast. In 1895, Ashanti Goldfields Corporation began work in the Obuasi district of Ghana, developing the Ashanti and other mines, which have produced the largest proportion of gold since 1900 in the countries of the Gold Coast. All of these deposits are of Precambrian age. 
At the Obuasi mine, over the years, 25 million ounces of gold were mined. At Bogoso, since mining operations commenced in 1873, more than nine million ounces of gold were produced, largely from extensive underground operations.

Gold is one of the most precious metals in the world. It is present in the rivers, seas, and the earth’s crust and trace amounts are present in plants and animals. It is, however, difficult and expensive to extract. In modern mining operations approximately 3 tons of ore are needed to extract one ounce of gold. The many desirable qualities found in gold, along with its scarcity, have made it the most popular metal for use in jewellery today. 

Gold in its pure state:
·         Has a melting point of 1945 degrees Fahrenheit (1063 degrees Celsius). When alloyed (chemically combined) with other base metals the melting temperature of the resulting alloy is changed. 18K yellow gold has a melting point of 1675 degrees Fahrenheit and 14K yellow gold has a melting point of about 1550 degrees Fahrenheit.

·         Has a specific gravity of 19.33. It is relatively heavy compared to most metals, such as silver (SG 10.7) or iron (SG 7.8). A notable exception is platinum (SG 21.4).

·         Is more malleable than any other metal and can be hammered into foil so thin that it is almost transparent.

·         Has a unique ductility property allowing it to be drawn into wire so fine it can barely be seen.

·         Is deep yellow in color. Its great reflectivity properties help keep its brightness and color from fading with time.

·         Will not rust, tarnish or corrode. Gold jewellery recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs is in the same state as when placed there over 4000 years ago.

·         Is softer than most other metals. On the Mohs scale of hardness (which is a measure of a gemstone or mineral’s resistance to scratching), gold has a hardness value of 2 to 2.5. Diamond has a value of 10. Pure gold may easily be scratched. Fortunately, gold becomes harder when alloyed with other base metals.

·         Is relatively scarce and therefore expensive. It is estimated that only 125,000 tons of gold have been mined the world over since the beginning of time.

·         Is able to bond with other base metals. This property gives rise to the many different colors available in modern gold alloys.  

Since ancient times the purity of gold has been defined by the term karat, which is 1/24 part of pure gold by weight. Pure gold is equivalent to 24K. Gold purity may also be described by its fineness, which is the amount of pure gold in parts per 1000. For example, a gold ring containing 583 fine gold has 583 parts (58.3%) gold and 417 parts (41.7%) of other base metals. 
Karat Value Definitions:
·          Karat System: A system of measurement based on 24 karats being "fine" or "pure" gold. 1 karat equals 1/24th fine gold by weight. This is the system used in the United States.

·         Plumb Gold: Karat weights are usually determined with a small, fractional variance allowed. Karat gold which has no variance and is exactly the precise fractional karat weight is called "plumb" gold.

·         European System: A system of measurement based on a fraction of 1,000; or the number of grams of gold in 1 kilogram of alloy.
The following table lists the relationship between different international gold markings. 
Karat Gold
Parts Gold
Percentage Gold
Normal European Stamping
9 kt
9 in 24
10 kt
10 in 24
12 kt
12 in 24
14 kt
14 in 24
583 or 585
18 kt
18 in 24
22 kt
22 in 24
24 kt
24 in 24
999 or .99999

The weight of a piece of gold jewellery is a factor that helps to determine its value. It is important because it is an indication of the amount of fine gold in an item of jewellery. Grams (g) and pennyweights (dwt) are the units of weight most commonly used in weighing gold. Gold and silver are almost always weighted in the troy system of weights where one pound troy equals twelve troy ounces and twenty pennyweights equals’ one troy ounce. The Avoirdupois weight system, where one pound equals 16 ounces, is used in the United States for most everything except precious metals. The following table summarizes useful weight conversions. 

1 gram (g)
= 0.643 dwt = 0.0032 oz t = 0.035 oz av
1 pennyweight (dwt)
= 1.555 g = 0.05 oz t = 0.055 oz av
1 troy ounce (oz t)
= 31.103 g = 20 dwt = 1.097 oz av
1 ounce avoirdupois (oz av)
= 28.3495 g = 18.229 dwt = 0.911 oz t

The New Minerals and Mining Act 703, 2006
The purpose of the Act is to revise the existing Minerals and Mining Law, 1986 (PNDC Law 153) to reflect in our laws, new thinking and developments in the mining industry and to consolidate it with the enactment on small scale gold Mining. The PNDC Law 153, when it was enacted in 1986, was hailed as one of the best enactments on the subject in Africa and made Ghana an attractive destination for mining investment.
However, after nearly two decades of operation of the Law, it has been realized that development in the mining industry requires a revision of the Law to reflect international best practices in the industry, as well as to re-position Ghana as a major mining investment destination in Africa. The provision by Law, of an internationally competitive framework that ensures a stable and equitable tax regime and also takes cognizance of environmental protection as well as community interests is necessary in order to provide the basis for the development and sustainability of mining in the country. 

Welcome to the Web Portal of the Mining Authorities of Ghana.
The Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines (Mines Section) and its Agencies offer to provide a transparent information source and equal opportunities for all investors and the general public. 

History of Ghana
Medieval Ghana (4th - 13th Century): The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval Ghana Empire of West Africa. The actual name of the Empire was Wagadugu. Ghana was the title of the kings who ruled the kingdom. It was controlled by Sundiata in 1240 AD, and absorbed into the larger Mali Empire. (Mali Empire reached its peak of success under Mansa Musa around 1307.)
Geographically, the old Ghana is 500 miles north of the present Ghana, and occupied the area between Rivers Senegal and Niger. Some inhabitants of present Ghana had ancestors linked with the medieval Ghana. This can be traced down to the Mande and Voltaic peoeple of Northern Ghana--Mamprussi, Dagomba and the Gonja. Anecdotal evidence connected the Akans to this great Empire. The evidence lies in names like Danso shared by the Akans of present Ghana and Mandikas of Senegal/Gambia who have strong links with the Empire. There is also the matrilineal connection.

Gold Coast & European Exploration: Before March 1957 Ghana was called the Gold Coast. The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina - meaning Mine. The Gold Coast was later adopted to by the English colonisers. Similarily, the French, equally impressed by the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named The Ivory Coast, Cote d'Ivoire. In 1482, the Portuguese built a castle in Elmina. Their aim was to trade in gold, ivory and slaves. In 1481 King John II of Portugal sent Diego d'Azambuja to build this castle.
In 1598 the Dutch joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsil. In 1637 they captured the castle from the Portuguese and that of Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid 18th century. These were the English, Danes and Swedes. The coastline were dotted by forts built by the Dutch, British and the Dane merchants. By the latter part of 19th century the Dutch and the British were the only traders left. And when the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony.
By 1901 the Ashanti and the North were made a protectorate

Britain and the Gold Coast. The first Britons arrived in the early 19th century as traders in Ghana. But with their close relationship with the coastal people especially the Fantes, the Ashantis became their enemies.
Economic and Social Development (Before 1957)
1874--Gold Mine in Wassa and Asante. Between 1946-1950 gold export rose from 6 million pounds to 9 million pounds.
Political Movements and Nationalism in Ghana (1945 - 1957)
The educated Ghanaians had always been in the fore-front of constructive movements. Names that come into mind are --Dr Aggrey, George Ferguson, John Mensah Sarbah. Others like king Ghartey IV of Winneba, Otumfuo Osei Agyeman Prempeh I raised the political consciousness of their subjects. However, movements towards political freedom started soon after WWII.This happened because suddenly people realised the colonisation was a form of oppression, similar to the oppression they have just fought against. The war veterans had become radical. The myth surrounding the whiteman has been broken. The rulers were considered economic cheats, their arogance had become very offensive. They had the ruling class attitude, and some of the young District Commissioner (DC) treated the old chiefs as if they were their subjects. Local pay was bad. No good rural health or education policy. Up to 1950 the Govt Secondary schools in the country were 2, the rest were built by the missionaries. 

There was also the rejection of African culture to some extent. Some external forces also contributed to this feeling. African- Americans such as Marcus Garvey and WE Du Bois raised strong Pan-African conscience.
In 1945 a conference was held in Manchester to promote Pan African ideas. This was attended by Nkrumah of Ghana, Azikwe of Nigeria and Wallace Johnson of Sierra Leone. The India and Pakistani independence catalysed this desire. Sir Alan Burns constitution of 1946 provided new legislative council that was made of the Governor as the President, 6 government officials, 6 nominated members and 18 elected members.
The executive council was not responsible to the legislative council. They were only in advisory capacity, and the governor did not have to take notice. These forces made Dr J.B. Danquah to form the United Gold Coast Conversion (UGCC) in 1947. Nkrumah was invited to be the General Secretary to this party. Other officers were George Grant (Paa Grant), Akuffo Addo, William Ofori Atta, Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Agyei, and J Tsiboe. Their aim was Independence for Ghana. They rejected the Burns constitution.