Burkina Faso begins construction of its first gold refinery


OUAGADOUGOU – Burkina Faso's junta-led government on Thursday launched the construction of the country's first refinery for gold, Burkina's main mineral resource, an AFP journalist said.

Burkina Faso first gold refinery
Image: Business Today

The refinery will have a 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 will leave the refinery in 11 months' time, he said, adding that the project would create 100 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs.

“There's no longer any question of us taking our gold abroad for refining. We'll refine it on site, because we know the real content of the raw gold that comes out. That's very important," Burkina Faso's military leader Captain Ibrahim Traore said at a launch ceremony in the capital Ouagadougou.

“For some time now, gold has been (Burkina's) leading export product,” he added.

“But we have no control over gold... today we have decided to put a whole network in place”.

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 fell from 66.8 tonnes in 2021 to 57.6 tonnes in 2022 -- marking a 13.7 percent drop.

Traore added that “a lot of gold leaves Burkina fraudulently, and this moreover helps to fuel terrorism”.

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.

Violence led to the closure of four industrial mines and the abandonment of nearly 700 gold-panning sites last year, according to official figures.

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