Canada’s B2Gold (TSX: BTO) said the Mali government had not renewed the Menankoto exploration permit, which formed a part of the Anaconda area and is located 20 kms north of its flagship Fekola mine license area.
The Vancouver-based company said that its Malian subsidiary, Menankoto SARL, had applied for a one-year renewal of the permit in early February.
“The company strongly believes that Menankoto is entitled to a renewal of the permit under applicable law and is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Malian government to clarify the situation,” B2Gold said.
The miner noted that since beginning its activities in Mali it has had a “positive and mutually beneficial relationship” with the country’s government.
Even after last year’s military coup in the West African nation, the company decided to boost output at its Fekola mine and examine other opportunities both in the country and across the region.
West Africa, one of the last frontiers for gold-mining investors, is likely to remain in the spotlight as the industry consolidates, chief executive Clive Johnson told MINING[dot]COM in September during a mining symposium.
The executive noted at the time that while B2Gold planned to examine deals, it would not “overpay” for assets as strong gold prices push up valuations.
He also emphasized the importance of gold mining to Mali, which accounts for 10% of the nation’s GDP and 25% of the government’s revenue that comes through taxes and other streams.
B2Gold, which expanded the mill at Fekola last year, noted the mine is projected to produce 530,000 to 560,000 ounces of gold in 2021. The figure does not include the Anaconda area, it said.