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.
Golden Star (NYSEMKT:GSS) is a mining company that has been operating in Ghana since 1999. It holds a 90 percent interest in the Bogoso and Wassa open-pit gold mines, and is currently in the process of increasing its operation through pursuing lower-cost ore ounces for production.Mali Behind Ghana, gold production in Mali totaled 67.4 tons in 2013, making the country Africa's third-largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Mali while the country has a significant number of gold reserves, it also has its fair share of illegal mining. In an effort to clean up its mining sector, the government recently, canceled 130 mining permits, accounting for approximately 30 percent of existing permits. The cancellations mean the permits are effectively free for the government to issue to other investors that will pursue exploration. But not to be disheartened, the government intends to review all existing mining contracts, licenses and titles and renegotiate those that are not in the best interest of the country, according to Reuters. The country is home to several big gold companies, including IAMGOLD (TSX:IMG). IAMGOLD operates two producing mines the Sadiola gold mine and the Yatela gold mine in Mali. Another big name for the country is AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) with mines at Morila, Sadiola and Yatela. The latter two are joint ventures between AngloGold Ashanti and IAMGOLD. Morila is a joint venture between Ashanti, Randgold Resources and the government of Mali. Apart from the Morila JV with AngloGold Ashanti, Randgold Resources (LSE:RRS) also has the Loulo-Gounkoto mine complex, a joint venture with the government of Mali. Burkina Faso Burkina Faso's economy depends to a strong degree on the price of gold on the international market. In 2013, when that price fell, the country's real growth was 6.9 percent, down from the previous year's 9 percent. Agriculture and mining are the largest and most impactful industries in the country. As such, the performance of the mining sector and of gold prices internationally are both very important to Burkina Faso. Currently, the government is making infrastructure improvements on buildings and roads. Major roads are being paved, while others are being formally created in order to make further development possible.
TrueGold (TSXV:TGM) has projects in Burkina Faso since 2003, just when the country's potential as a gold producer was coming into view. The country's geology is similar to that of nearby nations like Mali and Ghana that produce gold. The company found the belts of favorable rocks for gold deposits in Ghana extend into Burkina Faso. True Gold's Karma and Liguidi projects in Burkina Faso are under exploration, and a feasibility study at Karma is about to begin.Roxgold (TSXV:ROG) operates one project, the Yaramoko project, in Burkina Faso. The project is situated in the southwestern part of the country in the province of Balé. Yaramoko is within the Hounde greenstone belt where other gold projects lie. Currently, Roxgold is advancing a discovery of high-grade gold and has completed a feasibility study for it. It is also completing exploration activity at other areas within the permit. Endeavour Mining (TSX:EDV), a company that operates over much of West Africa, has aproducing mine at the Youga project, of which it owns 90 percent interest. Youga has been producing since 2008, and yielded 89,448 ounces of gold in 2013. Endeavour is investigating the possibility of trucking material from the nearby Ouare deposit, 40 kilometers away, to the Youga plant to add three years to the total life of the mine. IAMGOLD also operates in Burkina Faso, with its Essakane gold mine located in the country. West Africa: A Look at Gold Mining in Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso from Gold Investing News