March 26, 2017

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Mali State mining revenues fell 11% last year

Mali collected 245-billion CFA francs ($422-million) in state revenues from mining companies last year, a near 11% fall on the previous year, owing to stagnant production and lower gold prices, the statistics office said yesterday, according to a report filled by Reuters News Agency from Bamako, the country’s capital.

The figure came in lower than the 275-billion CFA francs in 2014, despite Mali exporting a record 70.2 tonnes of gold last year.

Mali is the third biggest gold producer in Africa behind South Africa and Ghana, and gold overwhelmingly dominates its mining sector, itself about a quarter of government revenues.

Mohamed Ouedrago, director of Mali’s Planning and Statistics Unit, told Reuters the main reasons for lower revenues were a lower average gold price in 2015 of $1,068 per ounce, against about $1,200 per ounce in 2014, and stagnant production.

Gold output was virtually flat at 50.502 tonnes in 2015, against 49.865 tonnes in 2014, Ouedrago said. The discrepancy with export figures is because Mali is a also hub for the regional gold trade, receiving supply from artisinal miners in neighbours such as Ghana and Guinea.

Gold producers including Randgold Resources and AngloGold Ashanti have operations in Mali.

The revenues for 2015 included 165.5-billion CFA in taxes, 33.898-billion CFA in customs duties and 45.57-billion CFA in dividends and other income streams, Ouedrago said.

He added that gold contributed 6.2% to GDP last year, against 6.5% in 2014.

The land-locked country expects to produce 47.37 tonnes of gold this year, lower than an earlier forecast of 52.85 tonnes, owing to a failure to restart its Kodieran mine.

In March, Mali upgraded its estimated of below-ground gold reserves by a third to 800 tonnes, enough to maintain current levels of output for the next 15 years.

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