West Africa is the continent’s gold mining hub – by Sungula Nkabide (Mineweb.com – June 1, 2016)


Excessive shaft-sinking costs and regulation in SA has driven investors to the next best gold mining region.

Western Africa has surpassed Southern Africa as the continent’s gold-mining hub. Numerous new gold-mining projects are being developed in West Africa, particularly in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“West Africa is now really the hub of African gold mining,” says Brian Ziswa, lead gold analyst at global research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

“Total production from West Africa – that is, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone – overtook South Africa’s gold production in 2011,” says Ziswa. “This was when the region produced 195 tonnes of gold compared to 187 tonnes for South Africa. All of the West African countries except Mali have recorded significant growth in production driven by investments in new mines.”

Wickus Botha, Africa mining & metals leader at EY, says that while there aren’t necessarily more deposits in West Africa compared with South Africa, the region is currently a slightly better environment to operate in.

For already-established operations he says the risks are a lot more manageable in South Africa, whereas the level of uncertainty and costs involved make starting a new project riskier and more expensive.

“In South Africa, once you’re past the capital investment hurdle, the risks are much more manageable,” says Botha.

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