Cotton and gold are Burkina Faso’s key exports - gold has accounted for about three-quarters of the country’s total export revenues. Burkina Faso’s economic growth and revenue depends largely on production levels and global prices for the two commodities. The Burkinabe economy experienced high levels of growth over the last few years, and the country has seen an upswing in gold exploration, production, and exports.
Real GDP growth was estimated at 6.7% in 2017, up from 5.9% in 2016, due to gains in mining, higher investment in construction, a healthy commercial sector, and improvements in agriculture. The economy is projected to grow 6.6% in 2018, bolstered by a public investment program in the 2016–20 National Economic and Social Development Plan that covers energy, hydro-agricultural development, and road and telecommunications infrastructure. Higher prices for gold and cotton are also expected to boost economic performance.
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The mining sector in Burkina Faso is considered one of the most dynamic in West Africa. The development of the mining sector was made possible through intensified investment, the opening of industrial mines and an evolution of the legal and regulatory framework for the sector. The main resources are gold, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphate and limestone. Traces of diamonds, bauxite, nickel and vanadium have been recorded in various geological formations. However, gold remains the most exploited ore in Burkina Faso. According to data provided by the General Directorate for Mines and Geology and the Cadastre (DGMGC), the total industrial production of refined gold for 2015 was 36.17 tonnes. Based on mining companies’ declarations, gold production at the end of 2015 amounted to 35.1 tonnes of refined gold at a valued of USD 1,419 million. Zinc production amounted to 134 643 tonnes in 2015. The value of zinc production was USD 54.5 million. No manganese production was recorded during the period 1 January to 31 December 2015 A parliamentary inquiry into the mining sector published in 2016 included a review of the artisanal exploitation of gold, and in particular, informal production (p. 70).17 According to the results of the survey, production from informal gold mining was estimated to be between 15 and 30 tonnes per year for the period 2006-2015, with a shortfall in tax revenue for the State estimated at USD 182.4 million. The country’s main exploration projects include Essakane (gold), Mana (gold), Inata (gold), Taparko (gold), Youga (gold), Bissa (gold) and Perkoa (zinc and iron-silver). There were 5 projects under construction as at 31 December 2017 notably Tambao manganese, Seguenega gold, Narissiguima gold, Niaka Nogbele gold and Bagassi Balé. Burkina Faso has rich deposits of gold, zinc, copper, manganese as well as iron, nickel, limestone, dolomite and phosphates. Abundant mineral resources are found along an arc from the country’s southeast to northwest. Gold reserves have grown rapidly in the past decade, with over 15 major discoveries since 2006.
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Laws and Regulations
Mining activity in Burkina Faso is governed by the 2003 Mining Code, pending the ongoing adoption of implementing decrees for the 2015 mining code. The Ministry of Economy and Finance, in particular the General Tax Directorate (DGI), the General Treasury and Public Accounting Directorate (DGTCP) and the General Customs Directorate (DGD), collect duties, taxes and revenues from the mining sector.
The principle of unicity of public accounts (“unicité des caisse”) means that the funds belonging to all public bodies must be deposited in the Public Treasury, which acts as the treasurer (“Caissier de l’Etat”. There are a few exceptions where companies pay directly to local Government units (such as patentes). Mining permits are granted by the Council of Ministers after consultation with the Minister of Mines and the National Commission.
Licenses are allocated on a 'first-come, first-serve' basis. According to the 2015 EITI Report, no technical or financial criteria are taken into account for new license allocations. The acceptance of the applicants’ dossiers is based on the administrative documents, provided for in the legislation, but not on the applicant’s ability to make the expenses needed for the successful development of the mining site.
Permit maps can be obtained without any restriction from the Bureau of Mines and Geology of Burkina Faso (BUMIGEB), on payment of fees depending on the data requested. Burkina Faso had begun a project to modernize its mining cadastre with the support of the World Bank, with the installation of a new computerized system which should be completed by June 2018. With respect to contract transparency, article 15 of the new Mining Code provides for the publication of contracts or mining agreements in the Journal Official du Faso. Mining contracts cannot deviate from the model agreement (Decree no. 2005-049/PRES/PM/MCE on a Model for mining agreements, 2005).
In Burkina Faso, while the percentage of children in full-time school and the literacy rates are amongst the lowest in the world. Significant progress has been made over the past five years. The gross enrolment rate has increased by 15% and today 60.1% of school-aged children attend school, as against 45% between 2001 and 2002. The literacy rate has increased by 30% in 2001 to 32.5% in 2005 (source : DEP-MEBA, Aide mémoir, 8e mission conjointe). With support from its development partners the government of Burkina Faso has undertaken major innovations in education on all fronts: pre-school, primary, non-formal and girls’ education. They have adopted the Ten-year Plan on the Development of Basic Education and the National Policy of Integrated Development of Children and set themselves the goals of reaching an enrolment rate of 70% by the year 2010, and education for all by 2015.