To finance the re-construction of the country and to materialize the ambitious developement plan Ouattara had promised during his campaign, the Ivorian government is going to significantly develop the mining sector. Although coffee and cocoa will still provide a significant income, the diversification will help stabilizing the country economy and avoid an extreme dependency on a handful of commodity prices on international markets.
Many factors allow the expansion of that sector: the prices of commodities such as gold is the main one. Trading over $1700, gold mining could quickly become one of the major industry in the country, as it is already in neighbouring Ghana or Mali. And the prospects look good for Cote d’Ivoire:
Many experts believe that Ivory Coast could turn into an important African gold mining country, if the approval process for new mining operations is sped up. A higher Ivorian gold production would surely spell good news for the global gold market, since gold production has been in decline for ten consecutive years. Toungara added that only 30 mining permits had been obtained in the last ten years, with requests reaching a total number of 170.
While the country’s gold production is expected to almost double to 13 metric tons by 2013, the government aims to increase it to 20 metric tons per year by 2020 – a tripling of Ivory Coast’s gold output within just one decade. The country – along with other African nations – also needs to work on guaranteeing consistent electricity generation if it hopes to achieve these ambitious production goals. Power disruptions have hurt African gold mining companies’ ability to capitalise on high gold prices. To remedy this, Ivory Coast intends to invest $500 million on upgrading the country’s most important gas-fired power station. Source
The unification of the country also open the gates to legitimate operators who could not/ were not willing to operate with rebel authorities in the North or with the Gbagbo regime.
Adama Toungara, the Energy and Mining minister announced that measures would be taken to significantly speed up and facilitate the approval process for mining concessions in Cote d’Ivoire. We can soon expect to see concessions allocated to Australian, Canadian, American or South African companies for the development of the mining sector.
On the same subject, you can also watch the BBC debate Does Mining Benefit Africa, about the impact of mining on the country’s economy and whether or not it has a positive effect on African people’s lives. (click on the image to watch the video).