Russia’s gold mining firm Nordgold has closed its Taparko mine in Burkina Faso and declared force majeure over security concerns in the country, reported Reuters citing a company statement.
Nordgold subsidiary Société des Mines de Taparko (SOMITA) director-general Alexander Hagan Mensa was cited by the news agency as saying that the gold producer is facing threats against its operations and employees each day.
According to the statement, access to the mining site has become ‘quasi-impossible’ in recent weeks, placing the lives of staff in danger at the site, which is located close to the tri-border area of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
Mensa stated: “The company finds itself in a situation of total incapacity to continue its activities.
“We are therefore advising you of the halt of our mining activities because of force majeure and for security reasons.”
Mensa noted that staff has been instructed to ‘follow the evacuation plan and management’s instructions’.
Further details were undisclosed on evacuation procedures or whether the contracts with employees were being terminated.
Located in Namantenga province, approximately 200km north-east of Ouagadougou, the Taparko mine produced 53,500oz of gold in the first nine months of 2021.
In recent months, the mine, which comprises a processing plant, ball milling facility and CIL circuits, had witnessed several attacks by militants.
Nordgold owns a 90% stake in the Taparko mine while the remaining interest is held by the Burkina Faso Government.
In light of Russia’s Ukraine offensive, the European Union in February sanctioned Alexey Mordashov, who earlier held Nordgold’s controlling stake.
Last month, Reuters reported that Swiss gold refiner MKS PAMP suspended its commercial activities with Russian counterparties. MKS PAMP sources gold from Nordgold’s mines in Burkina Faso and Guinea.
Nordgold said: “MKS suspended our cooperation and we redirected gold dore from our African mines to refineries in other countries.”