Investing In African Mining Indaba

Interview with H.E. Oumarou Idani, Minister of Mines and Quarries of Burkina Faso

Translated from the original french version found here.

1. On the expansion of gold mining in Burkina Faso: What is the long-term vision and the changing conditions for miners and investors?

The long-term vision of my department with regard to the mining sector is to make it a competitive sector and an important driver for sustainable socio-economic development in Burkina Faso by 2026. Making this vision a reality requires effective implementation of reforms in collaboration with other players in the sector, in accordance with the following guiding principles:

• State Ownership of mineral resources
• Integration of mining in the rest of the national economy
• Partnership, good governance (fairness, transparency, accountability, control and anticipation)
• Preservation of the environment, community development and taking into account themes such as gender inclusivity, environment, human rights and health.

To this end, my department's strategy is based on two principles:
1. Create conditions conducive to the sustainable use of mineral resources.
2. Increased benefits from mineral resource exploitation for the sustainable development of Burkina Faso.

2. Artisanal mining: How are the regulations changing and what is the current state of affairs?

The artisanal mining of gold has now become the second most popular occupation of rural people after agriculture. Small-scale mining has experienced significant development with an explosion in the number of artisanal sites or panning. To date more than six hundred sites (following the survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Demography (INSD) 2017) are listed and more than one million people earn a livelihood from this activity. The 2017 national survey of the INSD estimates the artisanal production of gold at 9.5 tonnes in 2016 at a value of 232.2 billion FCFA.

However this craze, despite certain advantages, also has negative effects on an environmental, economic and social level. To deal with all these difficulties and reduce the negative impacts on the environment and on society, the government of Burkina Faso created the National Agency for the Management of Artisanal Mining Operations and Semi-Mechanized (ANEEMAS) in 2015. In 2017 the process of strengthening its capacity and deploying it throughout the country was started. This structure will help channel the estimated artisanal production to the official collection circuits.

The Ministry of Mines and Quarries has put the issue of artisanal mining at the centre of its concerns. For example, on 26 April 2018 the National Forum on Panning was organized under the theme "Artisanal mining (panning) in Burkina Faso: What framework strategies should we adopt for a better contribution to the national economy?" The objective of this forum was to establish a real framework for dialogue between the Ministry and the Artisanal mining players at a national level.

3. Beyond gold: What are the other hidden riches of Burkina Faso?

Located in West Africa, Burkina Faso has a subsoil that is full of minerals in addition to gold. Previous geological and mining research combined with new investigations undertaken by the Mining and Geology office of Burkina Faso (BUMIGEB), a national geological service with the support of the World Bank, has helped to locate several Indices and anomalies of various metals throughout the national territory.