Mali Partners with Russia to Build Largest Gold Refinery in West Africa

Mali and Russia signed an agreement to build what will become the largest gold refinery in the West Africa region. When completed, the refinery in Bamako will boast a capacity of 200 tonnes of gold annually.

In 2022, gold production reached 66.2 tonnes and generated some USD 9 billion in revenue. The refinery project is part of the ambitious program of Mali to develop and upgrade its mining industry.

Gold accounts for 96% of all exports and 25% of tax revenue in Mali. Mali has been one of the largest producers of gold in Africa since antiquity. Nowadays, most of the gold finds its way to South Africa and Switzerland, but Australia, China and Turkey are also big buyers.

The project is in line with the new Mining Code, requiring a larger 35% stake by the State. The new policy is to promote Local Value Addition (#LVA) in order to retain maximum benefits for local communities.

“This [refinery] will allow us not only to control all gold production but also to be able to correctly apply all taxes and duties.”

Malli Minister of Economy and Finance Alousseni Sanou

Among the numerous gold companies in Mali, it is worth highlighting that Barrik Gold, the world’s second biggest gold mining company. In addition, Allied Gold, B2Gold, Endeavour Mining, Hummingbird Resources and Resolute Mining, amongst others, are present in Mali.

Following a coup in 2021, Franch troops were asked to withdraw from the country. Thus, Russia moved in to fill the gap with the Wagner Group. As another outcome of the Russia-Africa Summit (#RAS2023) which was held in Sochi in July 2023, Rosatom, has also signed an agreement in October 2023 to build a 300 MW #PV plant.