(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s struggling gold industry has suffered yet another humiliation, losing its status as continental leader to Ghana.
The country that led global gold production for a century and extracted about half the bullion mined to date is now Africa’s second-largest gold producer. Output is shrinking as operators capitulate to stubbornly high costs, regular strikes and the geological challenges of tapping the world’s deepest mines.
Meanwhile Ghana, a country whose gold-mining industry dates back to the 19th century, is benefiting from lower-cost mines, friendlier policies and new development projects.
South African industry stalwarts AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. are shifting their focus to other countries — including Ghana — where deposits are cheaper and easier to mine.
The largest remaining gold miner in South Africa, Sibanye Gold Ltd., is cutting thousands of jobs and diversifying into platinum-group metals as it struggles to contain costs.
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