Ougadougou, Burkina Faso — MININGREVIEW.COM —24 March 2009 – Burkina Faso – a West African country with a cotton-dependent economy – is planning to become a regional mining centre and the continent’s fourth biggest gold producer in the next three years.
Burkina Faso lies between Africa’s number two and three gold producers – Ghana to the south and Mali to the north – and has been mining gold industrially for less than two years, but wants to expand rapidly.
“We have four mines in production, four mines under construction, and one more that is yet to start,” director-general of mines, geology and quarries Ki Seka told Reuters in an interview here. “We can take the fourth position, but it’s not certain,” he said.
Reuters reports that the four operating mines are sitting on reserves of 117.5 tonnes of gold, while five other projects would bring more than 250 tonnes of additional reserves into production. The country’s gold output was 5.5 tonnes in 2008, and Seka said the same four mines would eclipse that in 2009.
Toronto-listed Iamgold last month acquired the country’s largest deposit, the US$350 million (R3.5 billion) Essakane project in the Sahelian north of the country.
In addition to its gold prospects, Reuters adds, Burkina has a manganese and a zinc mine under construction, and a second manganese mine under consideration.
“With all these mines developing, Burkina will become a mining country,” Seka insisted. “They can add value through taxes and employment, and the sector will have an important role in the economic domain."