Erroneous media reports that indicate Mali will amend its mining code if mining companies do not make “compromises” have been refuted by gold major B2Gold which owns and operates the Fekola gold mine in the country.
Statements attributed to a government minister at a recent joint news conference with the International Monetary Fund suggested that if compromises with mining companies are not achieved, amendments to the mining code may be unilaterally implemented B2Gold outlines in a press statement.
The full details of any proposed new mining code and the timing for its implementation are not known at this time. Government officials have advised B2Gold that the minister’s comments were taken out of context in such news reports and should not be applied to all mining operations in Mali.
B2Gold’s interest in its Fekola mine in Mali is governed by a finalised and enforceable mining convention (as amended) with the State of Mali that includes stabilisation provisions which provide that the Fekola mine is subject to the Mali Mining Code (2012) for the duration of its operations and subsequent amendments to the Mali Mining Code are not applicable to it.
As a result of these provisions, the company believes its interests in Fekola are protected and that any contemplated amendments in a new mining code will not apply to Fekola without B2Gold’s agreement.
No Malian government representative has informed any B2Gold representatives in Mali or elsewhere that the government does not agree with the company’s position. B2Gold has developed an excellent relationship over the last three years with the Government of Mali. All negotiations between the company’s senior representatives and the Malian Government Ministries have been conducted and concluded in an environment of mutual fairness, respect and transparency.
As previously disclosed, including in its recent Management’s Discussion & Analysis for the year ended 31 December 2017, in August 2017, B2Gold finalised certain other agreements with the State of Mali including a shareholders’ agreement for Fekola S.A., the holder of the Fekola mine, and a share purchase agreement for the purchase by the State of Mali of an additional 10% participating interest in Fekola.
These agreements have been signed by the relevant Malian government ministers and approved by the Malian Council of Ministers and are now subject only to final ratification by the Mali National Assembly, which is now expected at their next scheduled sitting in April 2018.
Upon such ratification, B2Gold will transfer ownership of 20% of Fekola SA to the State of Mali.