BAMAKO, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Mali produced 50 tonnes of gold in 2015 to consolidate its position as Africa’s third-largest producer and expects to increase output this year, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in a New Year’s speech.
Production is due to start at the Kofi Nord facility run by Canada’s Endeavour Mining, part of its Tabakoto mine west of the capital Bamako in southwestern Mali.
Kofi Nord will produce an average of around 1.8 tonnes per year, Keita said.
The Fekola mine owned by B2Gold, which has reserves of 3.15 million ounces, will also begin production this year, he said.
“Despite the timid pick-up of the global economy, Mali has this year (2015) produced 50 tonnes of gold of which 46 tonnes are industrial production and four tonnes are artisanal,” Keita said.
The West African nation’s gold production could rise to around 60 tonnes a year by the end of 2017, the mining minister said in November. Production was 49.865 tonnes in 2014. The sector contributes around a quarter of the government’s revenue. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; editing by Jason Neely)