Oumarou Idini, Burkina Faso’s mines minister said he expects the country to produce a record 55 tonnes of gold in 2018, a two-thirds increase from what obtains five years ago, as new projects in the landlocked West African country come on tap.
He said this in his office at the country’s capital Ouagadougou. Idani said gold production had hit 45.5 tonnes last year which puts it ahead of Tanzania as Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer, behind South Africa and Burkina Faso’s neighbours Ghana and Mali.
The forecast for this year represents a 20 percent increase on 2017, and at current levels would put its industrial production on a par with the third-biggest producer of gold in Africa, Mali.
Idani said: “There is gold everywhere in Burkina Faso, in every region, and with this strong potential, naturally it is attracting investment.”
In 2008 it poured just 5.5 tonnes of gold from two large-scale projects; in 2013, that figure had increased five folds to 33 tonnes.
The 2018 projection would mark a tenfold increase in industrial production over a decade earlier. Idani said $100 million had been invested by companies looking to discover new gold fields.
“Burkina is more dynamic and is progressing faster and we are second only to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the continent in terms of investment in exploration’’, he asserted.
Miners such as Canada’s IAMGold, Semafo, and Endeavour have large projects in Burkina Faso.
Most projects have been profitable, although others such as Avocet Mining have struggled with financing.
A decade ago Burkina Faso was better known for the cotton it grows than the gold it mines, but since then a gold rush has transformed it into one of Africa’s hottest destinations for frontier mining.
“Our big problem today is showing that we have other things besides gold as we have to diversify production. We mostly only produce gold, but we have huge potential in manganese, zinc, lead, copper, nickel and limestone,’’ he added.
Burkina Faso is the third biggest site for gold exploration in Africa and fourth-biggest gold producer in Africa and continues to grow rapidly, with more than fifteen major discoveries made since 2006.
With this have also come increasing amounts of merger and acquisition activity and more explorers flocking to the region.
A report revealed that the recent boom in the country’s gold mining industry in the last three years has made the country one of Africa’s leading producers and also asserted that it was during a whole generation into the sector for work.
According to the ministry of finance, gold has become the top export commodity. In 2011, it earned Burkina Faso 127 billion CFA (US$247 million).
Between 2007 and 2011, it brought in 440 billion CFA, accounting for 64.7 percent of all exports and 8 percent of GDP. Production rose from 23 tonnes in 2010 to 32 tonnes in 2011. Gold mines are spread across the country’s northern, western, southwestern and central region.