Mining sector: Burkina offers its first gold refinery

2023-12-04 08:40:43

• As part of a partnership with Marena gold from Mali

• The first gold bars refined in 11 months

• A daily production capacity of 400 kg

Dyears old on the 12the Ouagadougou district, a factory, the likes of which has never been seen in Burkina, will be built in the coming months. This is the country’s very first gold refinery plant, construction of which was officially launched on November 23, 2023, during a ceremony sponsored by the President of the Transition, Captain Ibrahim Traoré.

A partial view of the factory that will emerge from the ground. (DR)

What to learn from this next refinery plant? According to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Simon Pierre Boussim, this refinery will be built on an area of ​​5 hectares. It is a complex which also includes a jewelry store, storage rooms, security premises, administrative buildings, including the future headquarters of the young National Society of Precious Substances (SONASP). Still according to Minister Boussim, this major project will be carried out as part of a strategic partnership with the Malian company Marena Gold, which has around ten years of experience in the field to spare, including, in particular, a refinery already established in Neighboring Mali. According to the head of the Mines Department, the construction work will have to be completed in a few months and the first refined gold bars are expected in exactly 11 months, i.e. in October 2024. In terms of production, the factory will be with a capacity of 400kg per day, or 150 tonnes per year. 24-carat ingots, to meet international standards, according to a clarification from the President and CEO of Marena gold, Ismaël Siby, who promises compliance with the construction schedule.

For the authorities of the Transition, the erection of a refinery plant is a point won in the quest for economic sovereignty. “We are a gold producing country, but we do not have control over the gold we produce. It will no longer be a question for us of taking our gold outside to be refined,” lamented the president of the Transition, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, after laying the first stone of the factory. This is where the idea of ​​creating a national refinery was born. For Captain Traoré, refining gold on site should also make it possible to limit fraudulent exits of gold from the country, the reverse of which is to contribute to fueling the terrorism which has surrounded Burkina for several years now.

But it’s not just that. For the Transition authorities, the establishment of national industrial units should allow a better contribution of the mining sector to the national economy, development and job creation. And this, considering that “such industrial units must contribute to the promotion of the value chain of the mining industry at the national level, while limiting exports in the raw state”, to quote the words of Minister Boussim . The establishment of SONASP is part of this ambition. This structure will have the mission of buying gold on site. “It’s about encouraging local gold miners to bring gold back inland. We therefore invite gold miners and collectors to bring the gold back to SONASP which we invite at the same time time to increase the number of collection points,” said Captain Ibrahim Traoré. But there is also the job creation aspect which is at stake. This project, the result of a South-South partnership, will, according to the first manager of Marena Gold, create 100 direct jobs and 5,000 other indirect ones.

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On analysis, the establishment of the refinery should boost the mining sector, according to the responsible minister. According to Simon Pierre Boussim, mining production has had significant impacts on the budget of the State and local authorities in recent years. With 11 industrial gold mines as of December 31, 2022, for a production of 57,674 tonnes and a declared artisanal gold production of 457 kg, direct revenues to the State Budget increased from 430.916 billion FCFA in 2021 to 540.984 billion FCFA in 2022, an increase of 110.068 billion FCFA in absolute value. Since 2009, gold has become Burkina’s leading export product. According to 2022 statistics, gold export revenues increased to 2099.1 billion FCFA, or 73.86% of export revenues. “These data, which clearly raise our country to the rank of mining countries, call on us as decision-makers to take strong actions to better promote the sector,” indicated Simon Pierre Boussim.

Béranger Kabré (Contributor)


The project of a waste treatment plant in the pipes

A Next to the refinery, another factory will soon see the light of day, according to an announcement made by the President of the Transition. “This factory which is designed by Burkinabè engineers and which is in the testing phase, and we hope that in the days to come, the test will be conclusive. So that makes a complete chain for to be able to valorize our gold,” explained Captain Ibrahim Traoré.

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