Burkina Faso - Mining

Mining accounted for 1%–2% of GDP; revenues were dominated by gold, the third-leading export commodity. Gold mining output for 2000 was 1,000 kg, and artisanal miners have become the predominant producers. The gold mine at Poura, which was estimated to contain 450,000 tons of ore at a grade of 12 grams per ton of gold, closed in 1999, reportedly because of low gold prices, after completion of an $11.6 million rehabilitation project in 1997 financed by the European Union. The mine was operated by the parastatal Société de Recherches et d'Exploitations Minères du Burkina (SOREMIB), and production was complemented by the output of tens of thousands of individual prospectors called orpaillages . An estimated 40%–60% of artisanal gold production was smuggled out of the country.

Exploitation of an estimated 15 million tons of high-grade manganese ore at Tambao awaited better commercial prospects and completion of a railway extension from Ouagadougou to Tambao. Bauxite deposits have been located in the regions of Kaya and Bobo-Dioulasso. Significant mineral deposits included copper at Gaoua and Wayen, graphite at Kaya, and phosphate at Kodjari. Four main deposits of limestone have also been discovered. For many years, iron has been worked at Ouahigouya and near Banfora to make farm and home implements. The Perkoa high-grade zinc ore deposit, in development, had resources of 7 million tons and planned to produce 60,000 tons per year with an estimated mine life of 15 years. Other deposits included cassiterite, cobalt, diamonds, granite, lead, marble, nickel, phosphate rock, pumice, salt, sand and gravel, uranium, and vanadium. The government adopted a new mining code in 1997 primarily to standardize all the legal measures used to regulate the sector and to amend those parts of the previous legislation that had hindered future development.

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