Much to talk about
This has been an interesting edition to cover, unpacking lucrative projects in West Africa – of which there are many – and delving into the topic of beneficiation on the continent. Two areas that have not left me wanting for good content.
Let me start with West Africa – clearly COVID-19 has not presented any major challenge for the region (generally speaking of course). Take Anglogold Ashanti, for example, who has pushed heavily to deliver on its Obuasi mine objectives. An interesting project of course for our mining community considering its more recent tempestuous history. It is nonetheless a welcome addition to have the mine back on the gold production radar.
Orezone’s Burkina Faso-based Bomboré is another ‘hot’ project – the company is pushing hard to move this project through its development phases and into production next year. The project is impressive and you need only read the article to understand why. I am keeping a keen eye on this project and so should you.
And then there is Thor Explorations’ Segilola project – on the brink of becoming Nigeria’s first world-class gold mining operation. How I had my hopes set on seeing first gold poured before we went to print but, alas, that was not to be. Nonetheless, I know first gold is imminent and could likely set the country on a path of greater investment interest and new project development attraction. Hmm, I wonder what we can expect from Nigeria moving forward? Will Segilola be the catalyst for growth that the country so desperately needs?
Beneficiation in Africa: Is this topic not premature?
Indeed, it is not. This subject is a top priority agenda for many African countries, who are all eager to see greater benefit from downstream beneficiation opportunities for their citizens. Beneficiation of course brings job opportunities, economic wealth benefit and greater interest from the global stage.
Perhaps there is not much to write home about as yet: There is a tin smelter and gold refinery in Rwanda, a possible gold refinery in Nigeria and even a possible new copper smelter in the DRC. I’m sure there may be more, big or small; it’s a little difficult to know for sure.
But what I do know is that this industry sector is likely to grow, considering there is only one major constraint to doing so – energy. Beneficiation, for the most part, is energy intensive and Africa’s power infrastructure in most areas needs upgrading, but this too is on the agenda as solar power continues to shine (excuse the pun) on investors’ radars for so many reasons. Dare I say ESG (again!) for example.
This topic excites me and I hope to see an array of beneficiation opportunities come to the fore. It’s in Africa’s best interest, if you ask me, and will help unfold greater potential across the continent.