Africa has long been known for its abundance of natural resources. However, a number of factors prevent the continent for realizing its full economic potential. Whether it is a legacy of exploitation or more recent problems with disruptive social unrest, African gold mining has experienced uneven growth over the past several decades.
In spite of these setbacks and other persistent issues, gold mining projects are beginning to flourish in various parts of Africa.
Growth for South Africa's Top Gold Miner
Sibanye Gold (SBGL) is the biggest gold miner in South Africa. It has progressively grown since being spun off from another South African gold mining firm, Gold Fields (GFI), a few years ago. Although it has traditionally benefited from the world's richest-ever area of gold deposits, the Witswatersrand basin, gold production from South Africa has moderated since its peak in the 1970s.
Now, Sibanye is embarking on a new expansion program. The company is looking for more acquisitions, making new investments, and generally expanding its reach. It has sunk $120 million into developing the new Burnstone gold mine and an additional $115 million into a pair of projects at the Driefontein and Kloof gold mines; moreover, by rebranding itself "Sibanye Resources," the firm continues to aggressively explore purchasing other companies and their projects.
Mali Gold Mining Withstands Terror
There has been a slew of attacks by terrorist groups in the African country of Mali by jihadi groups known as al-Mourabitoun and Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). This is in addition to the presence of al-Qaeda in the country, as well. Between suicide bombings, kidnappings, and violence against foreign nationals over the last five years, the country also suffers from a fragile government that has only been under non-militant rule for three years.
Nonetheless, it would appear the country's vast gold resources (its southern region boasts eight major gold mines and 133 other potentially gold-rich deposits) are well-protected from the most vulnerable areas. Despite the security threats from jihadist terrorists, Mali is expected to continuously make use of its 800 tonnes of underground gold reserves over the next 15 years.
Elsewhere in African Gold Mining
Anglogold Ashanti (AU) has similarly been burdened by security concerns at its mines, but its worries have more to do with labor disputes and disgruntled local communities. As a major employer in Ghana, Anglogold Ashanti came under heavy local pressure when it was forced to cut thousands of jobs due to the three-year downturn in gold prices. However, it appears that its dispute with a popular movement made up of residents of Obuasi is close to being resolved. The Obuasi gold mine is among the world's ten largest.
More good news for African gold mining as a whole came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Kibali gold mine located in the DRC, an operation which is owned by Randgold Resources (GOLD), reportedly exceeded its annual production target by 7% last year, producing an impressive 642,720 oz of gold in 2015. Expectations for this year's output remain high, as well.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.