Gold miner Randgold Resources’ Morila gold mine’s ambitious agribusiness project has been approved by the Malian government.
The project is designed to replace mining with a sustainable economic activity in the local community after the operation’s closure in two years’ time.
“The project will support the government’s drive to alleviate poverty by promoting the agricultural sector. Eighty per cent of Mali’s population relies on agriculture, which accounts for 45% of the country’s gross domestic product.
“It is estimated that as much as 50% of agricultural produce has been wasted by the lack of processing industries,” said Randgold CE Mark Bristow at a ceremony held at Morila on Monday, with Mali PM Soumeilou Boubeye Maïga and Mines and Petroleum Minister Mme Lelanta Hawa Baba Ba in attendance.
Bristow added that converting Morila’s infrastructure into a base for an agri-industrial zone would not only develop an alternative economy in the region, but would also create a centre of excellence for agriculture in Mali.
Additionally, through project partner Songhai of Benin, Morila will work with entrepreneurial experts to attract businesses to Morila. It has been agreed to establish a nongovernmental organisation to be the main vehicle for this enterprise and ensure collaboration between the local community, the regional council and a former workers’ association.
The Morila gold mine is operated by Randgold and managed entirely by Malians. It is a joint venture between Randgold (40%) and AngloGold Ashanti (40%) and the State of Mali (20%).
This mine, as well other Randgold operations in Mali, such as the Loulo-Gounkoto Complex, have contributed about 6% of Mali’s gross domestic product.