Controvery brews over the gold certification function
Controvery brews over the gold certification function
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A brewing dispute between the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) over the right to certify refined gold in Ghana, has intensified, with the two calling the bluff of each other.

Although the PMMC has asked the Authority to stop usurping its mandate of valuing and certifying refined gold, the GSA has ignored the PMMC and currently undertaking that task.

Following GSA’s unveiling of the first hallmarked gold bar produced and processed in the country by Gold Coast Refinery in Accra on Tuesday with Ghana’s certification by the Ghana Standard Authority, the PMMC has described the certification as “bogus.”

According to the PMMC, the Standards Authority’s move to assay, value and certify refined gold in Ghana for the international bullion market, is “bogus” and “of no effect.”

Dr. Kwadjo Opare-Hammond, Managing Director of the PMMC, is quoted by the Business and Financial Times as stressing that the Authority has no mandate dealing with the minerals sector, saying that has been made very clear to the GSA on several occasions.

The GSA is keen on the gold function
The GSA is keen on the gold function

“This issue came up sometime last year and it was settled by the Chief of Staff and the Deputy Attorney General; they [GSA] were told that the mandate, when it comes to precious minerals, is that of the PMMC and therefore they should stay away.

“We thought they had understood it, but they didn’t and still went ahead to undertake certain actions and the case got to the Economic Management Team (EMT), chaired by Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. And the general consensus was that the mandate to work on precious minerals, which includes to assay, grade, value, hallmark gold – raw or refined, is that of PMMC,” he said.

The Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation Law, 1989, PNDCL 219, which established the PMMC, mandates the PMMC with the task of grading, assaying, valuing and processing minerals… and to do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of its objects and functions.

Defending its action of assaying, valuing and certifying refined gold, Professor Alex Dodoo, indicated at the unveiling ceremony that “Globally, the certification and hallmarking of gold is undertaken by national standards bodies.”

To indicate that it has no intention of retreating from that function, Prof Dodoo announced that  the the GSA has developed and adopted over 10 national and international standards for gold, precious minerals, and jewelry.

“We have also secured a world-class gold assay laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment comprising an X-ray Fluorescence Machine and all the requirements for fire assay analysis,” he said.

But the PMMC is grappling to understand the action and interest of the GSA in venturing into the gold certification and hallmarking arena.

Dr. Opare-Hammond argues that the certification and hallmarking of gold cannot be undertaken by a local standards authority, and comes with a process that requires collaboration with several key state actors such as the Bank of Ghana and some ministries.

By Edmund Mingle/