Bamako, Mali — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 October 2009 – Gold production in Mali “’ Africa’s third largest producer of the precious metal “’ will fall more than 13% this year as the effects of the economic crisis force junior miners to cut back on further exploration.
Output from the West African nation will total about 46 tonnes in 2009, down from 52 tonnes in 2008, according to government statistics, pointing to a potential long-term trend if new reserves aren’t found.
“It’s the international crisis that affects everyone,” said special adviser to the government of Mali Mohamed Keita. “In Mali, the effect is felt at the level of exploration, with the most junior companies disappearing for understandable reasons.”
Reuters reports that the world financial crisis has hit resource companies hard, particularly small miners, by reducing their access to credit and by limiting demand for their output.
But world commodities markets have been among the first to bounce back from the financial meltdown, as big investors see raw materials as a good hedge against a widely-anticipated inflationary cycle in the United States.
Keita said the impact of the decline in exploration activity in Mali could improve somewhat as the commodities rebound leads to the re-opening of mines and extends the lives of other mines, like Randgold’s Morila operation.
Mali’s coffers have also been buffered by the increase in market prices. Revenues from gold jumped by 130 billion CFA in 2008 to 515.17 billion CFA,despite the decline in overall output, according to government statistics.
Mali is the third biggest gold producer in Africa behind South Africa and Ghana and the 11th largest producer in the world.