Gold production in Burkina Faso has dropped in the past year, new data has shown. The nation’s Ministry of Mines, Quarries and Energy has said that gold output fell 1.5% in 2023 to a low of 57.3 tonnes. 

According to GlobalData, Mining Technology’s parent company, Burkina Faso was the world’s 14th-largest producer of gold in 2022, with production up 7% from the previous year.  

However, political instability has impacted the region’s output in the past year. A terrorist insurgency took hold in the Sahel, a region stretching across Africa, making for an even shakier political and business environment for a nation that already faced two military coups in 2022. 

Instability led to the closure of six mining companies in 2022, with an additional one closing in 2023.  

Burkina Faso’s gold industry has already had a bad start to 2024, with one of the nation’s biggest companies, Endevour Mining, hit hardest. In addition to the ousting of its global CEO following allegations of improper business conduct, a strike at its Hounde Gold mine, while resolved quickly, lead to a production shutdown. In the past two weeks, Endevour has also reported the death of a worker at another one of its sites, the Mana gold mine. 

Regarding the reduced output, Brahim Kéré, director of forecasting and macroeconomic analysis at the ministry, said in an interview: “2023 was a very difficult year in terms of security, with mixed economic and social consequences. In the gold sector, terrorist attacks have resulted in the closure of certain sites and difficulties in supplying certain mines with fuel and other materials.” 

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In late February, Burkina Faso’s military junta halted approval of export permits for small-scale producers of gold and other precious commodities in a supposed effort to better organise the marketing of precious substances. While no indication was given on how long this would last, it is likely it will have an impact on gold production figures for 2024.