Bloomberg News

Ivory Coast Gold Miners Have Post-War ‘Passion,’ Group Says

June 10, 2011

(Updates with comment from Mian in third paragraph.)

June 10 (Bloomberg) -- About 30 companies are exploring for gold in Ivory Coast and a fourth miner is expecting to begin production in the next two years, said Michel Mian, head of the Professional Miners’ Group of Ivory Coast.

Investors have developed a “passion” for the industry following the end of a 4 1/2-month post-election crisis, Mian told reporters in Yamoussoukro, the capital, today.

“A lot of investors have come to request a license to explore,” he said on the sidelines of an industry conference. The West African nation may have 200 metric tons (7.1 million ounces) of gold reserves, he said.

Randgold Resources Ltd., Cluff Gold Plc and Newcrest Mining Ltd. have gold mines in Ivory Coast and had their operations disrupted during the conflict that followed a November presidential election. Former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, sparking violence that left about 2,000 people dead, according to the United Nations.

Adama Toungara, who was named by Ouattara on June 1 as minister for mines, oil and energy, said yesterday Ivory Coast plans to triple production of gold from the current 7 tons annually over the next four to six years.

That goal is “totally sensible,” said Mian. “The companies will have to carry out an aggressive campaign to rapidly find deposits,” he said.

Ivory Coast shares its eastern border with Ghana and a northern frontier with Mali, Africa’s second and third-biggest producers of the precious metal. Most of the country’s reserves are in the east of the country, according to Mian.

Gold futures for August delivery fell $14.50 or 1 percent, to $1,528.20 per ounce at 10:23 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Gordon Bell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivier Monnier in Yamoussoukro via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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