Ghana is a major producer of manganese carbonate ore, an essential element needed for processing stainless steel. Mining began in 1916, controlled by the American- owned African Manganese Company, and this continued until 1975, when production was taken over by the government owned National Manganese Corporation. The period of highest production was in the mid 1970's, with production peaking at 638,000 tonnes between 1974 and 1975, but production then declined, due largely to significant inflation in Ghana.
What is the current position?
There is one operational manganese ore mine in Ghana,
Nsuta-Tarkwa, which is located at Tarkwa Banso in the Western
Region, utilising an opencast, strip-mining method. In 2006 the
mine produced 1.6m tonnes, of which 52% was exported to Ukraine,
37% to China, and the remainder to Norway. The Ukrainian Privat
Group has now possesses managerial rights to the Ghana Manganese
Corporation (GMC), viewed by some as a move to ensure stability
of supply – an intention to revise existing contracts has been
What is the environmental impact?
Manganese is toxic, and known to cause 'manganism'. This
irreversible neurological condition produces symptoms similar to
Parkinson's disease, in which patients exhibit impaired
responses, mood swings, irritability, and repetitive behaviours
similar to OCD. The effectiveness of medical treatment decreases
after three years, and prolonged exposure increases the severity
What about the future?
The Ghanaian industry remains buoyant about future prospects,
despite some reservations about the surrounding infrastructure
e.g. unreliability of the rail transport, frequent disruptions
to the power supply etc. It has stated a predicted 26m tonnes is
available and expects production to continue until 2027.
However, some feel that the industry is heavily reliant on
external support and expertise, especially as there is something
of a 'brain drain' with many Ghanaians moving abroad once
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