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03.12.2019 Africa

Canada says Burkina mine will not reopen this year after attack

By AFP
Canada says Burkina mine will not reopen this year after attack
DEC 3, 2019 AFRICA

Canadian mining company Semafo said Monday it does not plan to reopen its mine in Burkina Faso this year after an attack killed some three dozen of its employees.

The November 6 ambush of a convoy transporting workers to the company's Boungou mine, which the government blamed on "terrorists," also left 60 people wounded, and was the deadliest attack in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the West African country.

"We do not anticipate Boungou restarting this year," the Semafo gold mining company said in a statement.

"Any restart plan will require the government to increase the security of the public road to Boungou as well as in the region," in eastern Burkina Faso.

"We are evaluating scenarios to limit the use of the public road, such as transporting our people by air from Fada," a city located about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of the capital Ouagadougou, the Montreal-based company said.

Burkinabe president Roch Marc Christian Kabore blamed "terrorists" for the deadliest such attack since 2015, when jihadist violence began increasing in the deeply poor West African country in parallel with a gold rush.

Semafo added that additional security personnel have arrived at Boungou to protect the site and the few personnel remaining.

The company said the processing plant is continuing to run to ensure an easy transition when the mine does reopen, and as a result, "some gold in circuit will be recovered for a last shipment in December."

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