When it comes to mining gold in Africa, the western side of the continent is 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 gold in Africa, they are important areas to keep a close eye on. Read on to learn more about these three countries and which gold-producing companies are currently operating within them.
Gold in Africa: Ghana
Ghana is one of the best places to look for gold in Africa. It is one of the continent’s top gold-producing countries, and supports several large gold 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 90 MT of gold. 2017 numbers have yet to be released; however, there is speculation that output could drop due to government cuts.
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 Q3 2017 report, the company announced gold production of 49,293 ounces, placing the firm on track to meet its revised annual guidance of 205,000 to 225,000 ounces.
West Africa-focused Perseus Mining (TSX:PRU,ASX:PRU) holds one gold property in Ghana: its flagship asset, the Edikan gold mine. It 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. As of June 30, 2017, ore reserves at Edikan were reported to be 53 million tonnes grading 1.1 g/t gold. Perseus also holds two other gold projects in Côte d’Ivoire.
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.
BCM International is a private company that bought its Nzema mine from Endeavor Mining (TSX:EDV) in 2017. The 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 only a few more years of life left.
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.
Gold in Africa: Mali
Gold production in Mali came to 46.9 MT in 2016, making the country Africa’s third-largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Although 2017 numbers have yet to be released, some are predicting that total production from industrial and informal mines could be as much as 95 MT. This is in part due to the efforts of artisanal miners; like Ghana, Mali is home to many artisanal miners, and the country’s government said in 2017 that it expected informal miners to produce 50 MT for the year.
The largely unregulated sector is plagued by fatal accidents, smuggling, child labor and environmental damage. The government of Mali 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 Mali government.
Apart from the Morila joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti, Randgold Resources also has the Loulo-Gounkoto mine complex, an 80/20 joint venture with the government of Mali.
Gold in Africa: 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 of that year. Karma is a low-cost operation with six identified gold deposits, and has a shallow open pit with a low strip ratio and no blasting required. Commercial production was declared on October 1, 2016, and expected production for 2017 is 100,000 to 110,000 ounces. Endeavour also owns the Hounde mine in Burkina Faso, which has an average production of 190,000 ounces.
IAMGOLD operates in Burkina Faso as well. 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. 2017 expected production falls within that average, sitting at 370,000 ounces for the 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. Its guidance for 2017 stands at 190,000 to 205,000 ounces.
Finally, a relatively new entrant to the space in Burkina Faso is Roxgold (TSX:ROXG), which declared commercial production at its Yaramoko gold mine in the country in October 2016. In 2017, the company exceeded the upper limit of its increased guidance range, putting out 126,990 ounces of gold.
Have you invested in gold in Africa? Which are your top producers? Share your opinion below.
This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2014.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.