Following the opening of several new mines, including Morila and Yatela in 2001, Mali has become Africa’s third largest gold producer (producing 51.60 t gold of 2003 compared to 63.69 t in 2002), after South Africa and Ghana. Geologists estimate that Mali has enormous potential for further gold discoveries. Exploration activities currently focus on the Birimian Series greenstone belts in the southwestern and southern parts of the country near Bougouni, Kéniéba, and Sikasso. Mali’s gold reserves are estimated at 350t. Several foreign companies have successfully located and developed new gold mines, the most important being Randgold Resources and Anglo Gold, with IAMGold partnering AngloGold.

Exploration permits are issued for three years, renewable for the same period based on the work performed. The Government has developed a research permit procedure which allows the holder the exclusive right to explore within the permit zone and also entitles the holder to apply for an exploitation permit over a limited period. Exploration work undertaken over the past 20 years indicates that the major gold mineralisation occurrences in Mali lie in close proximity to the crustal scale fault zones and secondary fault structures associated with them or to felsic intrusions.

The Sadiola Hill Gold mine (major shareholders being AngloGold, IAMGold and the Mali Government) is situated in the geologically favourable Kenieba/Kedegou window where the Mali-Senegal shear zone is host to the deposit. Sadiola has reserves estimated at 120 tons of gold with an annual production of around 600 000 oz of gold (producing 453,000 oz of gold in 2003), making it West Africa’s second largest gold mine. The orebody will be mined using open-pit methods and the resulting pit will eventually be 1800 meters long, 750 meters wide and 150 meters deep. Four million tons of ore will be treated annually in the plant which will have parallel modules incorporating primary crushing, variable speed grinding mills, cyclone classification and dewatering. The gold recovery plant will use cyanide leach and carbon-in-pulp technology to produce around 10 tons of gold annually over the estimated 12 year life of the project.

A mere 35km to the north of Sadiola, lies the Yatela Gold mine (AngloGold 40%, Iamgold 40% and the Mali Government 20%) which began production in mid 2001. Yatela produced 217,000 oz in total for 2003 at cash costs of US$235/oz. Yatela’s resources have been estimated at 13 Mt grading 3.7 g/t containing 1.6 Moz. The small Alamoutala gold resource is conveniently located between Sadiola and Yatela.

Resolute Mining Ltd exercised its option to buy Randgold Resources’ 80% interest in the Syama mine (State of Mali 20%) in April 2004, which had been kept under care and maintenance. Resources at Syama at the end of 2003 were 5.2 Moz of gold contained in 50.5 Mt of ore at an average grade of 3.2 g/t and a feasibility study is being carried out to determine the viability of restarting the mine.

The Morila gold mine, marked the opening of Mali’s third gold mine. Randgold (40%), AngloGold (40%) and the Mali Government (20%) are joint owners of the mine, with AngloGold as operators. The mine had an estimated production of 793,992 oz in 2003. In 2003 the resources at Morila were estimated at 793,992 oz.

The existing Kalana mine is situated 300km southeast of Bamako. Kalana was privatised and sold to Ashanti Goldfields and JCI. Nelson has subsequently acquired a 70% interest in the mine and is carrying out a feasibility study on the possible re opening of the mine, producing an estimated 18,500 oz per year over four years at a cash cost of $183/oz.

The Kalana mine (Avnel 80%: State of Mali 20%), which is situated 250 km south of Bamako, is scheduled to recommence production in 2004. Gold production from Kalana in 2004 is expected to amount to approximately 15,000 oz, rising to 20,000 oz in 2005.

The Loulo gold mine project (Randgold Resources 80%: State of Mali 20%) is situated in western Mali adjacent to the Falémé River which forms the frontier with Senegal. The open-pit operation, which will be developed at a capital cost of US$80 million, is scheduled to go into production in July 2005. nevsun resources has reported that construction is under way at the Tabakoto mine site, situated in southwestern Mali, and production is scheduled to start in mid-2005.

Orezone Resources is evaluating the Kantela property that is located 15 km south and immediately adjacent to the Sadiola Mine. Here limited work has been carried out and Orezone intend evaluating a large gold in soil anomaly for oxide resources. Still proximal to Sadiola, Etruscan Resources has acquired the Djelimangara Permit, as well as an additional two permits viz. the Mogoyafara Permit and the Sanoukou Permit, both of which are located in the Mali West Shear Zone. Both display significant gold soil anomalies.

Canadian Robex Resources have decided to concentrate on their Diangounte eluvial gold property that is estimated to contain a resource grading 4 g/t per cubic meter for a resource of over 500 000 oz gold. An independent evaluation of the property has increases the resource base at Diangounte to 879 000 oz gold.

Organisations (12)
African Goldfields Corporation(Mali), Amansie Resources and Gold Fields, Anglogold Ashanti Mali SA, Cmc – Consolidated Mining Cororation – Oliver Gold Corporation(Mali), Morila Ltd, North Atlantic Resources SARL, Randgold Resources (Mali) Ltd, Societé de Gestion et d’Exploitation des Mines d’Or de Kalana, Societé Miniere de Loulo, Societé Miniere de Syama, Somika SA, Tamico – Tambaoura Mining Co Sa(Mali) :[ Add More ]

Facilities (14)
Alamoutala, Kalana, Kenieba, Kodieran, Loulo, Loulo mine (Mali), Morila, Sadiola, Sadiola mine (Mali), Segala, Syama, Syama mine (Mali), Yatela, Yatela(Mali)

Participating Organisations
African Gold Group Inc.

African Gold Group is engaged in the identification, acquisition and exploration of prospective gold projects that are situated along significant gold trends within West Africa and controls gold concessions in Mali.

AngloGold Ashanti Limited

AngloGold Ashanti is involved in three mining operations in partnership with other companies. It has a 40% interst in Morila Mine with Randgold Resources and the Mali government. AngloGold Ashanti also has a 38% interest in the Sadiola Mine, with Canadian IAMGold Corporation, the International Finance Corporation and the Mali Government. Along with IAMGold and the Mali Government, AngloGold Ashanti has a 40% interest in the Yatela mine.

IAMGold Corporation

IAMGold has a 40% interest in the Yatela and a 38% interest in the Sadiola Gold Mine in Mali.

Merrex Gold Inc.

Merrex is exploring the Siribaya Gold Property located in the southern portion of the West Mali Gold Belt.

Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at mbendi.co.za. With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. bakamoso@gmail.com / Instagram