Burkina Faso New Gold Refinery to tighten Junta’s grip on Power

The Burkina Faso gold refinery will produce gold bars for the global market

Kampala, Uganda HABARI DAILY I Burkina Faso’s junta-led government has taken a significant step towards enhancing its control over the country’s main mineral resource, gold, with the official launch of the nation’s first gold refinery. 

The first gold refinery in the country will have a production capacity of 150 tons of 99.99 percent pure gold per year, or about 400 kg of gold per day. Its first 22-carat gold bars are expected in 11 months, according to technicians. 

The decision to build a national gold refinery was taken by the Council of Ministers on April 5.

The construction was inaugurated recently in a ceremony attended by various officials, including Captain Ibrahim Traore, Burkina Faso’s military leader.

The refinery, with an anticipated production capacity of approximately 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of gold per day, is a pivotal development for Burkina Faso. Ismael Siby, CEO of Marena Gold, the co-managing company of the refinery, shared that the first 22-carat gold bars are expected to be produced and leave the facility end of 2024. 

Captain Ibrahim Traoré inaugurated the construction of a gold refinery in Ouagadougou recently

Moreover, the project is set to create 100 direct jobs and an additional 5,000 indirect jobs, providing a substantial boost to employment in the region.

Captain Ibrahim Traore emphasized the importance of refining gold within the country’s borders, stating, “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.” He further highlighted the government’s commitment to establishing a comprehensive network to ensure better control over the country’s gold resources.

Burkina Faso has historically relied on gold mining, which constitutes 14.3 percent of the state’s revenue, as reported by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). However, gold production faced a notable decline from 66.8 tonnes in 2021 to 57.6 tonnes in 2022, representing a 13.7 percent drop.

Captain Traore addressed the issue of gold leaving the country illicitly, emphasizing its contribution to fueling terrorism. Burkina Faso has been grappling with a jihadist insurgency since 2015, spilling over from neighboring Mali, resulting in more than 17,000 civilian and military casualties and the displacement of two million people. The government’s move to establish a gold refinery is seen as a strategic measure to curb illegal activities and enhance economic stability.

The violent situation has also taken a toll on Burkina Faso’s mining sector, leading to the closure of four industrial mines and the abandonment of nearly 700 gold-panning sites in the previous year, according to official figures.

As Burkina Faso aims to refine its gold domestically, this milestone is not only anticipated to bolster economic prospects but also contribute to national security efforts by curbing illicit activities associated with the gold trade. The refinery is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping Burkina Faso’s economic landscape in the coming years.

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