BAMAKO, April 17 - Mali aims to overtake Ghana in two years to become Africa's second-largest gold producer with output of 69 tonnes in 2006, President Amadou Toumani Toure has said.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Kalana gold mine operated by British firm Avnel Gold some 250 km (155 miles) south of the capital Bamako, Toure said three more mines would start up in 2004/2005.
"We are the number three producer in Africa and in two years we will be the number two producer, behind South Africa," Toure said in remarks broadcast by Malian media on Friday evening.
Toure said Mali had produced 54 tonnes of gold in 2003 and would reach a level of around 57 tonnes in 2004 and 2005.
"Looking ahead to 2006, it is with great pleasure that we foresee 69 tonnes for Mali," he added.