Mali’s interim President, Assimi Goita, has signed a new mining code into law that seeks to increase government ownership of gold concessions in the country.  

The new code was signed on state television on 28 August and will see the government and local investors take stakes as high as 35% in mining projects, compared with current levels of 20%. 

The signing comes amid a shortfall in production revenues. According to governmental projections, the new code could more than double the mining sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to between 15% and 20%. 

Mali is one of Africa’s leading gold producers, and companies including Barrick Gold, B2Gold, Resolute Mining and Hummingbird Resources operate in the country.  

The government has yet to confirm the implications of the mining code on existing projects. Officials said last week that the code’s remit will depend on forthcoming implementing decrees, which have not yet been announced.  

Mali’s Finance Minister, Alousseni Sanou, said on Monday that an audit of the country’s mining sector has shown that the state was missing CFA Fr300bn–600bn ($497m–$995m), which the new code seeks to recover. 

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Newly appointed Mining Minister Amadou Keita attributed state losses to mining companies taking their gold ore to a tax exempt mine for processing. The new code seeks to crack down on such activity. 

He added that greater attention would be paid to how mining titles are issued.

“From now on, for the sake of transparency and inclusiveness, mining titles will be signed by several ministers (finance, mining, environment, etc.),” he said.  

The code was adopted by parliament earlier this month before the final signing this week.