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Mali forms new state-owned miner

Fekola gold mine. (Image courtesy of B2Gold.)

Mali’s transitional government has officially created a new state-owned mining company as part of the West African country’s efforts to increase revenues from the sector.

The company, Société de Recherche et d’Exploitation Minière du Mali (Sorem SA), was created by a decree in August, but obtained its legal status this week, with the order signed into law Thursday evening.

The new mining firm will be fully funded by the state and has the mandate of exploring for minerals and developing mines, creating hundreds of local jobs in the process, officials said.

While it is unknown how much funding Sorem will receive from the government, the company will focus on projects beyond gold, said Mahamadou Bassirou Tangara, economist and professor at the Université des sciences sociales et de gestion de Bamako (University of Social Sciences and Management of Bamako). 

The academic believes that the new company would boost training of the specialized local workforce and the acquisition of technologies in the field of the exploitation of mineral resources. 

Room for everyone

He also noted that Mali’s minister of mines, energy and water, Lamine Seydou Traore, vowed that the creation of Sorem does not seek to return to a state-monopoly of the mining sector. 

“Gold will shine for all Malians. There is space for everyone,” he wrote.

“For the mines that will be developed by Sorem, the state will get 100% of the benefits,” Souleymane Gueye, president of the legal commission of Mali’s transitional government, said on state radio on Friday.

Global miners including Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: GOLD), B2GOLD (TSX: BTO) (NYSE: BTG), Resolute Mining (ASX, LON: RSG), AngloGold Ashanti (JSE: ANG) (NYSE: AU) (ASX: AGG), Endeavour Mining (TSX, LON: EDV) and Hummingbird Resources (LON: HUM) have operations in Mali

The country, Africa’s third gold producer, currently holds between 10% and 20% in those mines and subsidiaries.

Production of the precious metal from 13 major mines, stood at 45.8 tonnes by the end of September, exceeding 44.5 tonnes initially forecasted for the period. Yet, output was below the 47.1 tonnes produced in the first nine months of 2021.

(With files from Reuters)

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