Burkina Faso is recognised as the fourth largest gold producer in Africa. In addition to gold, the country is also known to produce zinc, copper, cement, dolomite, granite, marble, phosphates, pumice, manganese and limestone. The country’s mining industry has expanded considerably over the last 20 years – both at an industrial level and at the artisanal level. Industrial growth has been attributed to focused efforts to improve the sector for the purposes of attracting foreign investment. The privatisation of State-owned enterprises began in the late 1990s; in 2003 and 2004 the country’s Mining Code and Investment Code were reformed with a focus on attracting greater FDI – particularly in gold exploration. A successful period of development of numerous mines ensued, with the international investment community noting a lack of undue government interference during this time, which further contributed to positive perceptions of the country as a mining destination. As with many African jurisdictions, more legal reform was undertaken in 2015 with a focus on increasing government benefits from the industry. Though such reform may have resulted in a slightly less attractive framework for investment, the 2015 Mining Code still strikes a good balance between investor and country and has ensured that the country’s mining industry remains a strong option for exploration and mining companies. The economic reliance on gold means Burkina Faso’s economy is heavily influenced by shifts in commodity prices. Other challenges include the impact of political instability in Mali, insufficient energy supplies and inadequate transportation.
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