Orezone has focused its exploration efforts in West Africa as this region offers relatively under-explored geological potential as well as near-surface oxidized deposits that can be explored and developed at a low cost. Burkina Faso is the country with the greatest untested potential in West Africa and it is here that Orezone has acquired a strategic land position over the last 15 years.
Burkina Faso Snapshot
- French-speaking West African country with 17 million people
- Flat, arid and accessible. 274,000 km² in size (similar to Colorado, the UK, New Zealand and Italy)
- Favorable geology, similar to neighboring Ghana and Mali
- Modern mining codes with reasonable fiscal and taxation policy
- Ranked 2nd in Africa and 27th out of 96 best in Current Mineral Potential, by The Fraser Institute of Canada in its "2012/2013 Annual Survey of Mining Companies."
- 7 new gold mines since 2007
- At approximately 1 million oz/year it ranks as the fourth largest gold producing country in Africa in 2012
- More info: CIA Fact Book
Burkina Faso is located in West Africa, one of the world's fastest growing gold producing regions. It has a population of approximately 17 million people, and a democratically elected government. French is the official language of the government and business, giving Canadian companies an advantage over competitors who come from countries that are not French speaking.
Located between Ghana and Mali, the second and third largest gold producing countries in Africa, it is underlain by rocks of the same age and history as its neighbors but it is still relatively under-explored.
Burkina Faso's terrain is flat, making it very accessible; its climate is currently arid, but a previous period of hot and rainy climate has resulted in the oxidization of near surface material. These aspects make it easier to make discoveries, and less expensive to bring discoveries into production, two important factors for successful mining projects.
Gold Mining & History
Burkina Faso is emerging as a significant gold producing country. It shares similar geology as its neighbors, Ghana and Mali, which are the second and third largest gold producing countries in Africa.
Artisanal gold mining has been practiced in the region for centuries, going back to the time when this part of Africa was known as the "Gold Coast". Although predominantly a farming country, gold has recently become the country's largest export commodity.
Orezone accumulated a strategic land position between 1997 and 2002 when there was very little interest in gold projects. During this period, gold production was declining in many countries, however, in West Africa, growth in gold production increased 50% because of its favorable geology, modern mining codes, political stability, reasonable fiscal and taxation regimes as well as government support of the development of natural resources. New discoveries were made, and were brought into production in a timely and efficient manner to accepted international environmental standards. This period of growth resulted in Ghana and Mali becoming the second and third largest gold producing countries in Africa.
Burkina Faso was not part of this boom because of a less attractive fiscal policy. In 2003, policies were improved and a study by BRGM, a French government agency that does geological surveys in developing countries, concluded that Burkina Faso has the same age and type of rocks as Ghana and Mali. Interest in Burkina Faso's resource potential continues to grow with 7 producing gold mines built since 2007 ranking it 4th amongst the African nations, and it is now attracting the interest of mining companies because it is a politically stable democracy with good infrastructure. As a result Burkina Faso is on pace to become the fourth largest gold producing country in Africa by 2011, and will likely rival Mali in the near future.
Modern Mining Code
Burkina Faso has updated and modernized its Mining Code and established a competitive fiscal regime. The government retains a 10% non-participating carried interest as well as a small net smelter royalty. On December 31, 2010, the Government of Burkina Faso amended its Mining Law whereby the government's net smelter royalty interest would be maintained at 3% if the price of gold is less than or equal to $1,000/oz, increased to 4% if the price of gold is between $1,000/oz and $1,300/oz and increased to 5% if the price of gold is greater than $1,300/oz. The royalty level is applied to all gold sold or delivered by a refinery, based on the daily spot price of such distribution.
Burkina Faso ranks 2nd in Africa and 27th worldwide in Current Mineral Potential Index, in the "2012/2013 Annual Survey of Mining Companies" conducted by The Fraser Institute of Canada.
The country is now attracting considerable foreign investment with six gold mines having been commissioned to date and the +6 Moz Essakane mine now operational. Burkina Faso is ranked 27th best (out of 96) in Current Mineral Potential, by The Fraser Institute of Canada in its "2012/2013 Annual Survey of Mining Companies." The Current Mineral Potential Index is based on respondents' answers to the question about whether or not a jurisdiction's mineral potential under the current policy environment encourages or discourages exploration.