What are the benefits of gold for Mali?

Audio 02:22

Panel bringing together several international players in the mining industry, at the Bamako International Conference Center (CICB) on November 16, 2021. © Manon Laplace / RFI

By: Manon Laplace Follow

2 min

Many Malian and international companies were present from November 16 to 18 at the Bamako International Conference Center.

They took part in the 9th Mining and Petroleum Days of Mali.

With 14 mining companies and around 70 tonnes extracted per year, it was an opportunity to take the pulse of the gold sector in the country, but also to report on the real benefits for Malians.

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About sixty stands in a row: equipment manufacturers, suppliers, cement manufacturers, mining companies and, regularly, the same remark that comes up: " 

Mali has gold that does not shine for Malians

 ".

With 70 tonnes mined per year and gold prices on the rise for 20 years, the profits from gold mining are nevertheless substantial.

Mamadou Keita, mining engineer, specializes in mining economics: “ 

There is the sector's contribution to the national economy

: taxes, duties, royalties that these companies owe to the Malian state.

And the Malians have the feeling that we do not feel all these contributions on the basket of the housewife

 ”.

State participation called into question

Among the questions raised, the participation of the State, which caps at 20% in the farms of the country. Chiaka Berthe, head of operations in West Africa for Canadian Barrick, world number 1 in gold production: “ 

The problem is not in the share. You have to invest, unfortunately you don't invest. The state does not generally invest in all of our countries. These are heavy investments. When you take the example of my company in Mali, the investment exceeds 1.5 to 2

billion dollars

 ”.

In addition, according to him, there are excessively high interest rates in the region's banks: “ 

I find it hard to believe that in our countries, in West Africa in general and particularly in Mali, our banks do not. cannot finance part of the mining activity.

But the real constraint is that their rate is very high.

It's almost 15

%

 ”.

Little mentioned environmental consequences

While the clips broadcast promote lower production costs, increased profitability and sustainable income for shareholders, panelists defend the positive effects on populations. Abdoulaye Maïga, exploration director at Segala Mining, the 3rd largest gold producer in Africa: “ 

I think our company is doing its best for the community. We intervene in all sectors

: health, education, water supply, a lot of things

 ”.

More discreetly mentioned: the environmental consequences of mining.

Among them, the pollution of the river linked to toxic discharges, but also deforestation.

With resources running out, the focus is on exploration, hampered in places by classified forests, says a sector player.

A subject under discussion with the government.

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  • Africa

  • Economy

  • Mali

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