BAMAKO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Mali’s gold production will dip slightly in 2014 as AngloGold Ashanti and Canada’s Canada’s Iamgold close down their Yatela mine, the country’s mines minister said on Wednesday.
Mali, Africa’s number three gold producer behind South Africa and Ghana, is home to nine gold mines currently in production with Randgold Resources and Australia’s Resolute Mining among other companies operating there.
“Production will fall because the Yatela mine will close in a year. We are already in the process of closing the mine,” Boubou Cisse told a press conference in the capital Bamako.
AngloGold Ashanti, which operates Yatela, and Iamgold each have a 40 percent stake in the mine. The Malian state owns the remaining 20 percent.
Cisse said industrial production is forecast to fall to 46 tonnes this year from 47 tonnes in 2013. Artisanal miners will produce an additional four tonnes, bringing total production to 50 tonnes, down from 51 tonnes last year.
Mali’s national mines directorate said last month that it expected output to increase this year as new projects come online.
“We have made discoveries at Gounkoto and Tabakoto. There are large gold deposits that are not yet exploited,” Cisse said. “The data indicates that the zone is very rich. Investors won’t hesitate to invest.”
Mali’s total proven gold reserves stand at 600 tonnes, according to the mines ministry.