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Burkina Faso miners say business as usual despite coup

A group of soldiers announced on state television late Friday that Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba had been overthrown. ( Screen shot from DW News | YouTube.)

Miners in Burkina Faso say operations have not been affected by spreading social unrest following an internal coup d’état over the weekend that saw the country’s president, Lt.-Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, overthrown after only nine months in power.

The change of leadership appears to have its roots in a disagreement within the Burkina Faso military on security issues in the north and east of the country, areas which have been hard-hit by Islamic-associated terrorist insurgencies in recent years.

The nation’s new military leader, Captain Ibrahim Traoré said on Sunday the country was facing an emergency in every sector, “from security to defence, to health, to social action, to infrastructure”, and it was time for government to “abandon the unnecessary red tape”.

West African Resources (ASX: WAF), an Australian gold miner that gets all its revenue from Burkina Faso, saw its shares dive 10% on the news to A$0.95. That’s the lowest the stock has closed at this year.

The company said the new military leadership had released a statement urging people of Burkina Faso to “go about their business in peace”. It added it remained on track to meet 2022 production guidance of 220,000-240,000 ounces gold. 

Endeavour Mining (TSX, LON: EDV) also said its mines were unaffected the second military coup of the year in the country, which is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer.

The company is Burkina Faso’s top miner with four operations – Houndé, Mana, Boungou and Wahgnion – and two exploration projects.

Canada’s Iamgold (TSX: IMG)(NYSE: IAG), with owns the Essakane mine, said on Monday that all employees and contractors were safe.

Essakane, located about 330 kilometres northeast of the country’s capital, Ouagadougou,  is Iamgold’s biggest operating mine.

Burkina Faso has been destabilized by a decade-long Islamist insurgency that leaders have failed to suppress.

More than 40% of the country, a former French colony, is currently outside government control. Thousands have been killed and about two million people have been displaced by fighting since 2015, when insurgency that began in Mali in 2012 spread to Burkina Faso and other countries in the Sahel region, south of the Sahara Desert.