Burkina Faso transitional President, Ibrahim Traoré, on Thursday, November 23, 2023 laid the foundation stone for the construction of the first ever national gold refinery in the country.
The junta led government launched the project in the Country’s Capital Ouagadougou. During the launch, the president stated that the country will refine it’s gold instead of taking it abroad.
“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,” Captain Ibrahim Traore stated.
At the same time, the president invited gold miners to bring back their gold to the interior. The president added that SONASP reforms will be used as the structure to buy back the gold for refining on the site.
The new developments comes exactly six months after President Ibrahim Traore accused African leaders of “beggary” at the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“My generation does not understand this, how can Africa, which has so much wealth, become the poorest continent in the world today? And why African leaders travel the world to beg,” Traore posed.
Captain Traore became the youngest president in Africa after he seized power with other junior military leaders. The leader has been at the forefront of advocating for Africans to mine and refine their own minerals.
Burkina Faso Gold Refinery
The Burkinfaso gold refinery will have a production capacity of around 400 kilograms. These is like (880 pounds) of gold per day, according to Ismael Siby, CEO of the refinery’s co-managing company Marena Gold.
However, the first 22-carat gold bars will leave the refinery in 11 months’ time. The gold refinery in the country will improve gold production. More so, concerning gold production fell from 66.8 tonnes in 2021 to 57.6 tonnes in 2022, marking a 13.7 percent drop.
Currently, Burkina Faso’s mining sector accounts for 16% of GDP and 80% of exports, according to the latest EITI data. Marena gold, a Mali based company will develop the project in partnership with Burkinabe government.
The refinery will be the first in the country. It will house a jewellery store and the future headquarters of the Société Nationale des Substances Précieuses, which oversees the project on behalf of the State.
Likewise, the facility will create 100 direct jobs and over 5,000 indirect jobs, according to the authorities in Burkinfaso. Gold is Burkina Faso’s leading export product. The country produced 57.6 tonnes in 2022, down 14% year-on-year.
Gold Production in Africa
Currently, Local processing is gradually becoming a priority for several African mining countries. These countries have for far too long exported their raw production abroad for refinery.
In the gold sector, particularly, most of the continent’s producers have their gold processed in refineries in South Africa, Switzerland, or China.
As Africa’s third-largest gold producer by 2022, Mali is following in the footsteps of its neighbor Burkina Faso. This comes after it signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s company for the construction of a gold refinery.
As of 2023, Algeria was the African country with the largest gold holding, at 174 metric tons. The North African country was followed by Egypt, with official gold reserves reaching 126 metric tons.
Moreover, South Africa and Libya ranked next, with 125 metric tons and 117 metric tons, respectively. The rest of the countries each registered official holdings ranging from three to 22 metric tons.