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Burkina Faso suspends export permits for small-scale gold production

BURKINA Faso’s military junta has suspended the issuance of export permits for artisanal and semi-mechanised gold and other precious commodities with immediate effect, it said.

“This suspension follows the need to clean up the sector and reflects the government’s desire to better organise the marketing of gold and other precious substances,” it said in a statement dated February 20.

It did not say how long the suspension would be in place.

It added that Mining groups with material to export are invited to reach out to the National Society for Precious Commodities (SONAP) for compensation.


Gold is Burkina Faso’s main export, accounting for 37% of total exports in 2020, and mining is a leading source of jobs.

However, a rampant Islamist insurgency and political instability have hindered exploration and dented gold output in recent years, causing several mines to shut down and others to produce less.

Frustration over the growing insecurity also spurred two military coups in 2022.

What impact the new export suspension will have was not immediately clear. Artisanal production amounts to almost half of industrially produced gold in West Africa’s Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, according to a 2019 Crisis Group report.

Around 10-30 tonnes of gold is artisanally mined in Burkina Faso with an estimated 1 million people involved in the sector, it said.

By The African Mirror