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Burkina Faso Suspends Artisanal Gold Export Permits Amidst Sector Clean-up

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Burkina Faso’s military junta has taken decisive action to suspend the issuance of export permits for artisanal and semi-mechanised gold production, along with other precious commodities, with immediate effect. The move, aimed at cleaning up the sector, reflects the government’s commitment to better regulate the marketing of gold and other valuable substances.

Burkina Faso Suspends Artisanal Gold Export Permits Amidst Sector Clean-up

In a statement dated February 20, the junta did not specify the duration of the suspension. However, it emphasized the need for a comprehensive overhaul to streamline the gold export process. Mining groups with materials ready for export are advised to liaise with the National Society for Precious Commodities (SONAP) for compensation during this period.

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Gold constitutes a significant portion of Burkina Faso’s exports, contributing 37% of total exports in 2020 and serving as a vital source of employment.

Burkina FasoNevertheless, the country has faced challenges due to escalating Islamist insurgency, political instability, and insecurity, which have impeded exploration efforts and reduced gold output. These issues have led to the closure of several mines and a decline in production across the sector.

The impact of the export permit suspension remains uncertain. Artisanal production represents nearly half of industrially produced gold in the Sahel region, including Burkina Faso, according to a 2019 Crisis Group report. Approximately 10-30 tonnes of gold are artisanally mined in Burkina Faso, involving an estimated 1 million individuals in the sector.

Burkina Faso Suspends Artisanal Gold Export Permits Amidst Sector Clean-upWhile the suspension aims to address concerns and enhance regulatory oversight, its effects on local communities and the broader economy await further assessment. The junta’s proactive measures underscore the importance of sustainable practices and responsible governance in Burkina Faso’s mining industry amid ongoing challenges.

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