Millions invested but significant gold mining underexploited in West Africa, experts say
Abidjan — Mining companies have invested at least $5bn towards gold exploration in West Africa in the past decade but significant reserves are underexploited, mineral industry experts say.
Delegates at the Ecomof mining and petroleum forum in the Ivory Coast commercial capital Abidjan were told that more must be done to attract international investors to develop mining potential.
“Throughout West Africa there are interesting minerals, gold, iron, nickel, manganese among others,” said Kadjo Kouame, MD of Sodemi, the Ivory Coast mining development company.
Ivory Coast and Ghana are among the world’s top cocoa producers, but are now seeking to diversify their economies by mining precious metals and newly discovered reserves of oil. “But there is a real job to do to attract investors and diversify projects, too focused on gold,” Kouame said.
Gold is attracting the most investment, according to figures shared at the forum, with West Africa now the world’s fourth-largest gold region. Ghana is Africa’s second largest gold producer after SA.
Some 8-million ounces of gold were mined in West Africa in 2016, according to figures from the World Trade Council supplied by Endeavour Mining.
From 2006 to 2019, new gold deposits of 79-million ounces were discovered in West Africa — the highest in the world. A third was located in Burkina Faso, followed by Ghana, Mali and Ivory Coast, the forum was told.