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Burkina Faso launches first mine residue treatment facility


Infographic illustration showing global gold production in tonnes from 1823 to 2022. (Photo by VISUAL CAPITALIST/SCIENCE PHOTO / VCA / Science Photo Library via AFP)

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(AFP) – Burkina Faso, governed by a military regime, on Tuesday opened its first mining waste processing facility in one of Africa‘s foremost gold-producing states, an AFP journalist reported.

The inauguration of the facility in the Kossodo industrial zone just east of the capital Ouagadougou was attended by transitional military leader Captain Ibrahim Traore.

“The machines were entirely built here. I can confirm without fear of contradiction that Burkina Faso is the second country in Africa to develop this technology,” said Traore, who saluted what he termed the “ingenuity” of this “Burkinabe revolution”.

Traore, who took power in a September 2022 coup, said the opening of the factory was all part of his regime’s bid to have the country manage its own resources. He invited other African states to bring their own mining waste to Burkina Faso “because we have the technology to process.”

Local experts developed the plant to process residue from the country’s gold mines, said Joachim Marie Emmanuel Tapsoba, chief executive officer of Golden Hand, the company that operates the plant with a view to extracting metals from the residues.

The establishment of the plant is designed to allow Burkina Faso to process onsite and have full control of the waste, plant officials said.

Last November, the junta-led government launched construction of the country’s first refinery for gold, Burkina’s main mineral resource, with production capacity of around 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of gold per day, according to Ismael Siby, CEO of the refinery’s co-managing company Marena Gold.

The first 22-carat gold bars are set to leave the refinery later this year, with the facility creating 100 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs.

Traore said on that occasion the idea was to refine domestic production of the country’s leading export in the country rather than abroad.

The mining sector accounts for 14.3 percent of Burkina’s state revenue, according to data from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

But gold production in the country slid from 66.8 tonnes in 2021 to 57.6 tonnes in 2022 — marking a 13.7 percent drop — and Traore last year alleged that “a lot of gold leaves Burkina fraudulently, and this moreover helps to fuel terrorism”.

Authorities in Burkina Faso, Africa‘s fourth-biggest producer of gold, last February requisitioned 200 kg of production by Canada’s Endeavour Mining citing “an exceptional context of public necessity” to shore up reserves while pledging full compensation to the firm.

The country is battling a jihadist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali in 2015 and has left more than 17,000 civilians and soldiers dead and displaced two million people.

© Agence France-Presse





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