Africa gold producers wary despite price rebound
By Edward McAllister
DAKAR, April 7 (Reuters) - A steep rise in gold prices may have given hope to a battered mining industry in 2016, but after four tough years producers in Africa are still too wary to call the bad times over.
Gold prices surged 15 percent in the first three months of 2016, the biggest quarterly rise in nearly 30 years, boosting miners' share prices, attracting new investment and promising to bolster the economies of gold-rich countries.
Experts say the rebound could spur development of major unexploited deposits after low prices since 2012 crippled exploration and made countless projects unprofitable.
Still, Africa-focused gold producers are not quite ready to make investment decisions because of a brief price rise. Prices have often spiked in recent years only to quickly retreat - indeed, the recent rally has stalled in the last few weeks after the very strong start to the year.
Prices aside, some industry experts say a recent spate of takeover bids could be another indication of a sector recovery.
Amara Mining, which has projects in Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone, was subject in February to an $85 million bid by Australia's Perseus Mining.
Canada's Endeavour Mining, which owns gold mines in Ivory Coast, Mali and Ghana, is in the process of taking over TrueGold, another West Africa-focused miner.
At two major industry conferences he attended last month, Amara Chief Executive John McGloin said there was a sense that things could be turning around. But no one was getting overly excited. Continued...