When it comes to gold extraction, West Africa has made itself known a gold mining hot spot with several companies exploring and mining the region's significant gold reserves. To better understand the gold mining endeavors in West Africa, here is a look at the several companies mining in Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Ghana In Africa, Ghana is one of the top gold producing countries. The country supports a large industry of artisanal mining, however, according to the BBC, dropping gold prices threaten this way of life. Artisan mining workers take soil to sheds where they pan for gold, bind deposits together with mercury, roast the rock and sell the gold nuggets at market. Unfortunately, for the miners, lower gold prices make this process less worthwhile. This is beneficial for the government, who is making an effort to cut down on illegal gold mining. This change in the lifestyle of many in Ghana is happening quickly. Of course, mining companies can take steps to mitigate the impact gold prices have on their own finances. The government welcomes their activity, as they are legal miners of gold. For this reason, gold mining in Ghana by resource companies continues unabated. In 2013, Ghana was the world's 10th-largest gold producer with an output of 85 metric tons. One of the companies working on a gold project in Ghana is Asanko Gold (TSX: AKG) with its flagship Asanko gold mine. The development phase project has a res ource of 7.5 million ounces of measured and indicated gold. The company expects to have the mine producing at a steady state of greater than 200,000 ounces of gold per year in the second quarter of 2016. With a focus on West Africa, Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU) holds two gold projects in Ghana. Perseus' flagship project is the Edikan gold mine which has a 5.3 million ounces of measured and indicated gold resource. Edikan first produced gold in 2011, and by January 2012, the company was in commercial production. Perseus also has the Grumsea project in Ghana.