Unrest in Mali could impact gold mines in African nation

August 20, 2020

A military coup in Mali, Africa’s fourth largest gold producer, has sent shares in some of the gold mining companies tumbling as operations in the West African country are threatened to be disrupted.

Resolute Mining, B2Gold are among the companies that suffered after Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mali’s president since 2013, formally resigned on Wednesday, a day after he was seized by a group of soldiers following weeks of mass street protests.

The Financial Times reported that the military said it now planned to set up a transitional government ahead of fresh elections. In response to the coup, Ecowas, a regional bloc promoting economic integration, announced measures that could prevent miners from exporting gold and importing materials to Mali. Those sanctions included suspending trade and closing borders to the country.

“The mining companies should prepare for some of their imports being slowed for a few weeks,” said Vincent Rouget, an analyst at consultancy Control Risks.

This second mutiny in less than 10 years could also do lasting damage to Mali’s image as a destination for mining investment, said Rouget.
John Welborn, chief executive of Resolute Mining, said operations at the company’s mine, located in the south near the border with Côte d’Ivoire, were so far “continuing as normal with no impact to production or the safety and security of employees and contractors.”

B2Gold said its mining operations “have not been affected in any way and the company continues mining and milling operations as normal.”

The Fekola Mine had sufficient supplies to maintain its activities through the end of the third quarter “and beyond if needed,” the company added.
Hummingbird said there had been no current impact on operations and production at the Yanfolila mine, which is 174 miles south-west of the capital, Bamako. The fall in the miners’ shares follows a 24 percent rally in gold this year to a record high of $2,072 on August 7.

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