Miners in Mali unperturbed despite Islamist rebels gaining ground

Gold miner Randgold Resources (NASDAQ:GOLD, LON:RRS) said Monday its Loulo-Gounkoto complex, as well as its Morila joint venture, were operating normally despite the declaration of a state of emergency in Mali.

Over the weekend, French forces joined the Malian army in quelling rebels in the north of the country. The French Defense Ministry said on Monday that rebels were gaining ground, as a town in central Mali had fallen to the insurgents from the north.

The news came only a few hours after Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country’s dramatic intervention in the West African country had succeeded in blocking a rebel advance that could have had “appalling consequences.”

Randgold operations are in, for now, safe areas located about 700 kilometres from conflict zones and have not been affected by any of the issues that have afflicted Mali over the last ten months, said the company.

Chief executive Mark Bristow added they were monitoring the situation closely and had put contingency plans in place to ensure that it could continue to contribute to the economy of Mali while protecting Randgold’s people and property.

“Should the current military build-up impact on logistics, both operations are well-stocked with fuel and other consumables,” Bristow said.

Landlocked Mali’s reformed mineral code has attracted numerous foreign investors in the last decade. Other mining companies with presence in the country are Sahara Mining, Taurian Minerals Mali, Holdor Ag, Robex Resources Inc. and PG Natyral Resources, among others. AT the moment of publishing this article, these companies have nor reported issues either.

Apart from gold, Mali has bauxite, iron ore, base metals and phosphate deposits, mostly untapped.

Image of military leader Amadou Sanogo. Courtesy of AlJazeera.