Burkina Faso: Somita gold mining stopped due to security risk

Exploitation of a gold mine, in Burkina Faso (illustration image).

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Due to the deterioration of security conditions and the risk of terrorism, the Russian group Nordgold announced on Saturday that it was stopping its gold mining in Somita, located in the Center-North region, 200 km from Ouagadougou.

According to management, "

despite costly investments in terms of security, the threats are stronger every day 

", with access to the site becoming "

virtually impossible

" and "

the lives of staff seriously in danger



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The cessation of Somita's activities is quite a symbol in Burkina Faso.

Opened in 2007, it is the oldest and largest private mining site in the country.

The farm is located in a former smuggling area where traffickers transported cigarettes, spare parts or even fuel between the Sahel and countries like Benin.

But now, the terrorist threat has become too great.

The area has become a passageway for jihadists from where they can reach Côte d'Ivoire and Mali.

But in recent months, the attacks have intensified and come closer together.

In mid-March, for example, two civilians and thirteen gendarmes were killed in a double attack nearby.

Production in decline

Although gold production was declining, the Somita mine remained open due to high gold prices.

This closure is therefore a blow for Burkina, in which the State holds 10% of the shares.

The company paid several billion FCFA in annual taxes.

Nearly 600 employees find themselves unemployed, not to mention the end of all the economic activity that gravitated around the site. 

This closure is in addition to that of the Youga mine.

Operated by a Turkish group and located further south, it ceased operations a month ago.

The government is considering relaunching exploitation there because “

terrorists can seize closed sites and exploit them themselves in order to finance their activities

”, confides an observer.

One option would be for the mines themselves to serve as a base for soldiers and gendarmes.

►Also read: Burkina Faso: gold, lifeline of the country's economy


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  • Burkina Faso