Sunday, June 1, 2008

Burkina Faso opens third gold mine

Burkina Faso has opened its third gold mine in a year. Operated by Toronto-listed SEMAFO the Mana gold mining facility is open cast. The mana gold mine was inaugurated on June 30 and is located approximately 170 miles from Ouagadougou. The new gold mine is expected to mine 3.6 tonnes of gold each year according to local mining officials.
"Exploitation of the Mana mine will bolster the state's budget by an average of 15.5 billion CFA francs ($37.3 million) per year, in mine royalties and taxes, to which dividends will be added," Mines, Quarries and Energy Minister Abdoulaye Abdoulkader Cisse told reporters.
SEMAFO's exploration of the Mana mine in 1998 discovered gold reserves estimated at some 35 tonnes. The new mine has already produced 400 kilos of gold since March 31. More recent prospecting totals have discovered that the gold reserves could actually be as high as 100 tonnes of gold.
Within the last year, Burkina Faso has started up two other gold mines. The Taparko-Bouroum, majority owned by Canadian-listed High River Gold Mines Ltd. and Youga, operated by Toronto-listed Etruscan Resources Inc. In October the government announced that the country plannedd to produce 15-20 tonnes of gold a year by 2009. new gold mines will be brought on line between now and then to achieve the projected gold production. A new gold mine should open in Kalsaka in October, while a zinc mine at Perkoa is set to open at the end of next year.
Industrial gold mining started in Burkina Faso in the 1950s. Although some artisanal panning continued, the last commercial mine closed in 1999 after gold prices sank below $300. Both gold mines and gold prospectors have come back to the area recently drawn by enhanced tax breaks and rising world gold prices.
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