Burkina Faso buys 200 kg of gold from Endeavour’s Mana mine

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Endeavour Mining has sold 200 kilograms (7054.79 oz) of gold from its Mana mine in Burkina Faso to the West African country’s government, the company told Reuters on Wednesday.

The UK-headquartered multinational is the biggest gold miner in Burkina Faso, which is funding a battle against a rampant jihadist insurgency that spurred two military coups last year.

Gold is a universal means of purchasing foreign currency to shore up reserves.

Burkina Faso’s energy and mines ministry issued a statement on Tuesday saying it had “commandeered” 200 kilograms of gold from the Mana mine for “public necessity”.

The company will be compensated for its value, the statement added without providing further detail.

The government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

“Endeavour confirms that it has signed a sales contract for 200kg (approximately 7,000 ounces) of gold to the Burkina Faso government at current market prices, from its Mana mine,” the company told Reuters in an emailed response on Wednesday.

“This sale is in line with the country’s Mining Code which stipulates that it may acquire gold directly from mining companies, in exceptional circumstances for reasons of public necessity, subject to fair and pre-agreed terms,” it added.

Burkina Faso’s military leader Ibrahim Traore, who seized power at the end of September, has vowed to crack down on the insurgency spreading across West Africa’s Sahel region.

His government has increased the security budget, and set up a “patriotic support fund” to raise money for the mass recruitment of volunteer auxiliaries to support the army.

Endeavour acquired the Mana mine in July 2020, as part of its acquisition of Canada-based gold miner Semafo. The company owns 90% and Burkina Faso’s government owns the rest, according to Endeavour’s website.

(Reporting by Anne Mimault; Additional reporting by Sofia Christensen in Dakar and Helen Reid in Johannesburg; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Diane Craft)