African country Mali has signed an agreement with Russia to build a new gold refinery in Mali’s capital city of Bamako, Reuters reported.
The agreement, which is a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), was signed as part of a slew of agreements signed between the two countries.
Claimed to be one of the largest gold refineries in West Africa when built, it is expected to have the capacity to refine 200 tonnes per annum (tpa).
The project’s construction timeline was not disclosed.
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Mali’s minister of economy and finance Alousseni Sanou stated that the MoU will be valid for four years.
In an interview with national television ORTM, he stated that the refinery should make it possible, “not only to control all gold production but also to correctly apply all taxes and duties”.
It is the latest deal signed by Russia to deepen its interests in the country, following a military coup in 2021 and with the withdrawal of French troops a year later.
Last month, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company Rosatom signed an MOU with Mali for exploration and mining of nuclear minerals for power generation.
In August 2023, the country’s interim president Assimi Goita signed a new mining code into law, which aims to increase government ownership in gold concessions in the country.
With the new law, the government and local investors can increase their stakes from 20% to as high as 35%.
Nearly a fourth of the country’s fiscal resources are made up of gold, making it one of the largest gold-producing countries in Africa.
Most of the gold is exported to South Africa, followed by Switzerland and Australia, according to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Ajansı.