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Mining companies in Mali say gold production continues despite crisis

Gold mining companies in Mali reassured investors on Wednesday that their operations were continuing as normal despite a deepening political crisis in the West African nation.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned on Tuesday and dissolved parliament hours after soldiers detained him at gunpoint and seized power in a coup.

Foreign companies mining in the gold-rich country said they were monitoring the situation but operations were unaffected by the coup in the capital Bamako and staff were safe.

Canadian gold miner B2Gold said no operational days had been lost at its Fekola mine, in which the Malian government holds a 20% stake, and all mine personnel were safe.

B2Gold said Fekola had sufficient supplies to maintain activities through the end of the third quarter “and beyond if needed”.

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Australia’s Resolute Mining said the crisis had “no impact” on production at its Syama mine in the south of the country, or on the safety of employees and contractors.

London-listed Hummingbird Resources said its Yanfolila mine was operating as normal.

“The company’s security team is in regular contact with the operational and management team regarding the ongoing safety of Hummingbird’s staff, operations and assets,” Hummingbird said in a statement.

Analysts said, however, that the continued political uncertainty in Mali, which is also battling a jihadist insurgency in the north of the country, could pose risks for the mining industry in the future.

“In the longer term, there are more clouds for mining investors as this is the second coup in eight years. It will add to an already very high risk premium that people associate with Mali,” said Vincent Rouget, analyst at Control Risks Group.

Mali produced 61.2 tonnes of gold in 2019, according to the World Gold Council, making it Africa’s fifth biggest producer of the precious metal.