We are very pleased to launch the MACIG West Africa 2022 digital report, a publication that has spun off from our pan-African annual MACIG book as a standalone edition – a suitable way to represent a region that has distinguished itself globally as the second-largest gold producer and home to the most gold discoveries of the last 10 years. But as we argue in the following pages, West Africa has more to offer than gold, and its other minerals are glaring in the light of a commodities upturn.
To celebrate our 9th year of MACIG, our West Africa edition profiles nine countries: The gold mining leaders Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast that are responsible for the region’s collective gold supremacy; the individual top world producers of uranium (Niger), and bauxite (Guinea); and the newest mining aspirants, Senegal, Cameroon and Nigeria, each with its own minerals mix. Our enlarged focus captures the broader spectrum of the region’s metals, eclipsed in the past by the sparkle of gold, but which are gaining attention in light of a global decarbonization trend.
If last year’s thematic was dominated by the rise of the gold price arresting very strong sentiment in the commodity in stark contrast with the path of other metals and general economic projections, this year we discuss more balanced industry dynamics and a shifting interest from gold to “green” metals. We also discuss to what extent these metals can be called green and how West African countries can leverage their mineral riches and how regulators seek to make the most of these riches. Some countries’ priority is to incentivize more investment, while others insist on more in-country beneficiation.
Two years into the pandemic, the world has grown more accustomed to the rituals of virtual meetings and developed a pragmatism that allows businesses and industries to find opportunities among challenges. We were happy to hear of many success stories, the benefits of a high commodity prices visibly showing for both producers and explorers, and new names finding their place in the West African gold industry. In 2022-2023, many new mines are on track to start production.
We thank each of our 80 interviewees who have trusted us once again to share their thoughts and their visions during our three months of research for one of the few publications that bring the CEOs of Endeavour, Perseus, Resolute and Fortuna Silver Mines next to each other, and next to the broader value chain of over 20 juniors, local and international service and equipment providers, and governments. We wish our readers an enjoyable and instructive read and also that the industry’s current good health bequeaths lasting strength and prosperity to the West African nations that we have covered.