When it comes to gold mining, West Africa has become a hotspot. The region is home to many exploration companies, as well as a slew of major companies focused on extracting the metal.
Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso are three of West Africa’s most active gold-mining countries. These nations are all major gold producers, and for investors interested in West Africa gold deposits they are important areas to watch. Read on to learn more about these countries and which gold producing-companies are currently operating within them.
West Africa gold: Ghana
Ghana is one of the top gold-producing countries in Africa. The country supports several large gold-producing companies, as well as a large number of artisanal miners. Artisanal mining is highly sensitive to the gold price, and the government of Ghana is making an effort to eliminate this industry. In 2016, the country produced 95 MT of gold.
One of the companies producing gold in Ghana is Asanko Gold (TSX:AKG,NYSEMKT:AKG), whose flagship Asanko gold mine reached commercial production on April 1, 2016. In its Q1 2017 report, the company announced record gold production of 58,187 ounces; that was in line with 2017 production guidance of 230,000 to 240,000 ounces.
West Africa-focused Perseus Mining (TSX:PRU,ASX:PRU) holds two gold properties in Ghana. Perseus’ flagship asset is the Edikan gold mine, which has a measured and indicated gold resource of 5 million ounces. Edikan first produced gold in 2011, and by January 2012, the company was in commercial production. Perseus also holds the Grumsea project in Ghana.
Golden Star Resources (TSX:GSC,NYSEMKT:GSS) has been operating in Ghana since 1999. It holds a 90-percent interest the Wassa mine, which has mineral reserves of 1.5 million ounces at an average grade of 2.27 g/t gold. The company also holds the Prestea mine, which has operated for over 100 years and has produced more than 9 million ounces to date.
Endeavor Mining (TSX:EDV) is another gold producer in Ghana, and its Nzema mine is located at the south end of the Ashanti Gold Belt. The mine is 90-percent owned by the company, and 10-percent owned by the government of Ghana. The mine began commercial production in 2011, and based on current reserves will have a life of four more years.
Another large company operating in Ghana is Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM), which has two gold-producing mines in the country: Ahafo and Akyem. Investors interested in learning more about gold mining in Ghana can click here for additional information.
West Africa gold: Mali
Gold production in Mali came to 49.8 MT in 2016, making the country Africa’s third-largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Like Ghana, it is home to many artisanal miners — at the end of last year, the country’s Chamber of Mines estimated that more than a million artisanal miners were working at about 350 sites, producing between 10 and 15 MT of gold a year.
The largely unregulated sector is plagued by fatal accidents, smuggling, child labor and environmental damage. The government announced plans in 2014 to supervise operations and give miners easier access to financing, but progress has been slow.
Despite Mali’s widespread artisanal mining practises, it is also home to many large gold-mining companies. Those include IAMGOLD (TSX:IMG,NYSE:IAG), which operates the Sadiola and Yatela gold mines, and AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG), which holds the Morila, Sadiola and Yatela mines. The latter two are joint ventures between AngloGold Ashanti and IAMGOLD; meanwhile, Morila is a joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti, Randgold Resources (LSE:RRS,NASDAQ:GOLD) and the government of Mali.
Apart from the Morila joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti, Randgold Resources also has the Loulo-Gounkoto mine complex, a joint venture with the government of Mali.
West Africa gold: Burkina Faso
Agriculture and mining are the largest and most impactful industries in Burkina Faso. For that reason, the government is focused on making infrastructure improvements — major roads are being paved, while others are being formally created in order to make further development possible.
Endeavour Mining acquired the Karma mine in Burkina Faso in 2016, and announced first gold production in April that year. Karma includes six identified gold deposits, and is a shallow open pit with no blasting required and a low strip ratio; as a result it is a low-cost operation. Commercial production was declared on October 1, 2016, and the mine went on to achieve a run rate of about 115,000 ounces of annual gold production.
IAMGOLD also operates in Burkina Faso. It gained control of its Essakane gold mine after its 2009 acquisition of Orezone Resources, and Essakane began commercial production in July 2010. A revised life-of-mine plan, completed in December 2015, demonstrates a mine life of 8.2 years and average attributable gold production of 368,000 ounces per year.
Another gold producer in Burkina Faso is SEMAFO (TSX:SMF), which operates the Mana mine, the third-largest mine in the country. Mana has produced some 1.6 million ounces since its first gold pour in 2008.
This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2014.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.