Burkina Faso approves $1bn manganese mine
Burkina Faso approved Pan African Mineral's Tambao manganese project, a project that could cost as much as $1 billion, Frank Timis, the chairman of holding group Timis Corp said a day after receiving the government's green light.
The manganese mine in the north of Burkina Faso, near the border with Niger and Mali, is thought to contain more than 100 Mt (110 million st) of the metal, used in steel production.
Tamboa, which Timis says will be the biggest manganese mine in the world, is a priority for the West African country's government as it seeks to diversify its economy away from reliance on gold and cotton.
"The Tamboa project is an integrated project with a mining component and an infrastructure component, notably through the roads, railway and the port...," said Timis, whose firm controls Pan African Minerals (PAM).
"This project will happen in the next three years and will require investment of nearly $1 billion."
PAM won exploration rights for the site in 2012 but the government only granted the exploitation permit on Wednesday. Production is provisionally forecast at around 3 Mt/a (3.3 million stpy).
Souleymane Mihin, head of PAM in Burkina Faso, said the investment would be shared out between Timis, Canadian asset management firm Dundee Corporation and natural resources fund CD Capital, without giving a breakdown, Reuters reported.
PAM previously estimated that the total investment cost would be $650 million.
Burkina Faso's mines minister Salif Kabore said extraction from the mine was set to begin in July and that the commodity would be for sale on international markets starting from December or January 2015.
PAM's Mihin confirmed that shipments of manganese would begin by road in October. Timis said that shipments by rail would take between one to two years to start.